Consensus: Will leaving GPS ON consume more battery life?
I understand the effects of leaving 4G, BT, and even 3G for that matter, ON can consume more battery life. However, what's the consensus on GPS. I have it OFF and turn it ON every time I'm using Google Navigation, etc. However, this is getting quite annoying. Will GPS really turn "off" itself if an application is not using it? I heard that the HTC Sense Weather widget will use the GPS for its refreshing and just that alone will affect battery life.
So what is the final verdict? I feel we've had plenty of time to test our theories by now.
- 07-09-2010, 06:20 PM #2
leaving any radio on would, however small it may be. I keep my GPS off and have a toggle switch on one of my pages just in case I decide to use it again. No point in keeping it on if you aren't using any program that utilizes GPS at every waking hour.
- 07-09-2010, 06:23 PM #3
- 07-09-2010, 06:29 PM #4
- 07-09-2010, 06:45 PM #5
- 2,783 Posts
I can tell you I have NOT turned my GPS off since the 6.28.10 update and my battery easily last me all day long.. Typically at night when I get ready for bed I am at or around 12 - 14 hours of use with still 40% battery remaining.
As with any thing and every thing smart phone related it's going to depend on how you use your phone and what App's/Games you use as well. From my day to day use no noticeable difference with it on or off....
- 07-09-2010, 07:34 PM #6
- 07-09-2010, 07:48 PM #7
- 167 Posts
- 07-09-2010, 08:02 PM #8
- 07-09-2010, 08:44 PM #9
- 07-09-2010, 08:46 PM #10
I have tried running my EVO for several days with GPS turned on and turned off, there is negligible impact on battery life just leaving the setting on. Android and most apps are smart about only actually using the gps radio when the app asks for it. (although I have run into a few poorly designed apps that constantly keep the gps radio going in the background even when you jump out to another app)
- 07-09-2010, 08:47 PM #11
- 07-09-2010, 09:11 PM #12
The confusion stems from people not understanding what the toggle does. Enabling GPS does not actually turn the radio on. It simply allows programs to use the radio when necessary.
The definitive answer is that enabling GPS uses zero extra power except when location services are actually being used. You'll use more power turning it on and off than just leaving it on all the time.
- 07-09-2010, 09:25 PM #13
- 07-09-2010, 09:33 PM #14
- 07-09-2010, 10:14 PM #15
- 72 Posts
when i was traveling a week and a half ago i kept forgetting to turn off my gps (i use the toggle widgets) and i would get upset with myself bc i thought i was wasting my battery. but i did not notice a difference in my battery life. i think the radios actually turn themselves off when not in use. for example, you only see the gps icon in the notification bar when you are using an app such as navigation. as soon as you exit out of the app, the icon goes away.
i could be wrong. it just seems that it's not a battery hog and that it's only used when necessary.
- 07-10-2010, 07:36 AM #16
the thing for me is that i don't need to leave GPS on 24/7. i have a nice built-in Lexus OEM NAV in my car that's better anyway. i need the EVO GPS only when i'm in a pinch and not in my car or if i need some quick easy location based data. hence - i'll keep it off and turn it on only as needed.
- 07-10-2010, 08:42 AM #17
- 07-10-2010, 09:16 AM #18
- 07-10-2010, 10:06 AM #19
I don't think the phone can use WiFi to determine your location. That would imply there's already a map of WiFi locations and the phone software can use it. I guess it's possible in places where Google has done it's Street View thing, but to my knowledge the phone doesn't use WiFi for location information.
To answer your question, I've only seen the satellite icon come on when using a program that accesses GPS, not with programs that use towers for location. For example, using Weather Bug, I normally have the "use GPS" option turned off. I don't see the sat icon come on when it updates data or location. But if I set it to use GPS, then the sat icon will come on when updating. So I don't believe the phone uses the GPS radio when using towers to locate.
Now then, A-GPS. Assisted-GPS isn't the same as mobile network. A-GPS (which pretty much all phones use, I believe) is a hybrid. With A-GPS the phone uses the mobile network to approximate your location, and passes this info to the GPS software. By knowing your rough location, and the time, the GPS can lock onto the appropriate GPS satellites much more rapidly than if it had to figure out where it is by searching for all the satellites. Once it's locked onto 3 (minimum) or more satellites, though, it switches to using GPS for location services. A-GPS can also use the tower information to allow navigation if you lose the sat. signal temporarily, because of tall buildings or the like.
- 07-10-2010, 10:17 AM #20
- 07-10-2010, 10:42 AM #21
- 07-10-2010, 11:38 AM #22
- 07-10-2010, 12:30 PM #23
I believe that recording transmitted data was an accident. But they were intentionally collecting WiFi access point data (MAC address plus GPS coordinates) for use as a part of location services. WiFi is a rather short range technology, so detecting a known access point gives a pretty fine grained location by a simple lookup, no need to see satellites or perform a fairly compute-intensive GPS calculation.
You can hear 5A234CFF0A? I know that one! You must be on the 200 block of Main Street in Podunk, Kansas.
- 07-10-2010, 01:28 PM #24
- 07-10-2010, 03:54 PM #25
- 1,205 Posts
I just did a quick test.
Left GPS on for 3 hours and checked the battery usage. I didn't use any apps that use GPS, and the GPS usage wasn't even listed as having used any battery. Might show over a little more time, but idle GPS looks like it's basically nil as far as drawing power.