Why Does GPS Consume A Lot Of Battery?

GPS functionality has become an essential part of our smartphones nowadays. In an age where electronic maps such as Google Maps rule and navigating on your smartphone is the norm, GPS is a must have feature and chances are that you have it too.

GPS on a smartphone is essential but sadly, it also consumes a lot of battery and heats up the device.

Let us explain why this happens and what you can do to prevent battery drain.

Why Does my Battery Drain So Much During GPS Use?

Android and iOS devices save battery by aggressively entering into and exiting from sleep states. However, applications can wake them up for syncing or if you are using the application.

GPS happens to be a very slow communication channel. You need to communicate with 3 to 4 satellites  for a duration of about 50 bits per second. During this time, the system cannot enter a sleep mode. This means that the device is continuously awake and is at full processing power.

If you have bad GPS reception, it will take more time to get lock-on, therefore it will consume more battery as well.



As seen in the above screenshot, the actual use that kept the system awake was for 4 minutes but the total usage of GPS comes just in under 1 hour. Thus example illustrates one of the primary causes behind your phone’s battery drain when you’re using GPS.

What Can I Do to Prevent Excessive Battery Drain?

In order to conserve battery, you can turn off GPS on your device when it is not in use. When it is not turned off, the device may give out regular request to use the GPS for activities such as weather update etc.

Another way to save battery is that whenever you have to use GPS, it is preferable that you are outdoors so that GPS signals and more easier to lock-on to and take less time. Acquiring a satellite takes 12 to 30 seconds in good outdoor conditions, so taking more than that will obviously result in more battery drain.

Know of any more battery saving techniques while using GPS? Let us and your readers know in the comments below.