GPS satellites

The GPS satellies setting enables or disables the ability for apps to use GPS satellites to determine your location.

GPS satellites give the most accurate location data available, and can even operate when you have no Internet data connection. However, it has some drawbacks.

  • It is relatively slow to obtain a location. With access to an Internet data connection, this might typically take 4 to 30 seconds to first obtain a location. Without a data connection, up to 5 minutes may be more likely.
  • GPS sensors draw a surprisingly high amount of battery power. Using GPS constantly, such as for in-vehicle navigation, will drain the device's battery relatively fast.
  • GPS signal is weaker indoors, and as a result may not work or may take longer to obtain a location when being used indoors, especially in a multi-story building. This also applies to anything that might block your device's view of the sky, such as tall buildings in cities. GPS usually works well enough in a car, because the car ceiling is not very substancial and a car has large windows.

Many modern devices can obtain a satellite location from both GPS and GLONASS satellites to further improve accuracy and reliability. GPS and GLONASS are two competing satellite networks from the USA and Russia, respectively.