GPS Tracking

Do GPS Tracking Apps Drain Mobile Battery? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Vesna Mihajlovic
Last update on:
April 10, 2024 12:55 AM
Published on:

When it comes to workplace GPS usage, battery drain is one of the employees’ main concerns. Although today’s employees tend to be more on the tech-savvy side, such concerns can drive them away from accepting useful tech solutions. 

Understanding how GPS-dependent apps affect battery life is a great way to address your team’s worries regarding their phones crashing and leaving them without means to communicate or log their mileage and hours worked.

Together with the knowledge on how to boost their battery lives, your employees will be better prepared to adopt employee GPS tracking apps

So let’s dive deeper into GPS tracking software and its implications on mobile battery life.

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Does GPS Tracker Drain Phone Battery?

Concerns about GPS and geofencing features and their impact on mobile batteries are common among field workers. So, does leaving your location turned on drain your battery? Let’s dive deeper into this topic!

GPS-dependent apps require battery power to function, but it’s the combination of multiple factors that can lead to battery overuse. 

Sending out signals to satellites to pinpoint a location consumes battery power, but there are steps mobile owners can take to conserve their lives.

Running the app in the background is one of the things your crew can easily do to save battery life.

GPS tracking battery drain isn't the only concern of remote workers. They are also interested in the amount of power they require to operate. So, let’s go more in-depth with this subject.

How Much Battery Does Location Services Use?

Now that we’ve addressed the common myth about GPS tracking and battery drain, let’s cover another frequently asked question - how much battery does location services use

This is yet another topic that mobile owners are interested in, especially those that need to have their location tracked for work purposes. With the workplace culture of BYOD (bring your own device), the workers want to know how much battery power a GPS tracker really consumes. 

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. In addition to the app itself, there are multiple factors that affect the battery life. For example, Wi-Fi availability and the mobility of your workforce can influence battery drainage.

According to research, GPS signal strength can play a major role in depleting battery life as well. Under a good signal strength, GPS apps will shorten the battery’s life less - by 13%. If your remote workers are in an area with weak signal strength, the battery can deplete up to 38%. 

There are ways to counteract quickly using up battery power and help your mobile teams save on their battery life, which will be addressed later.

How Do GPS-Based Apps Affect Phone Batteries?

As to why any GPS app uses so much battery when the signal is weak, there are two functions this technology has to complete that can additionally consume phone battery.

1. Locating & Capturing Employee Location 

GPS tracking systems rely on satellites to identify a person’s location. It requires a minimum of 3 different satellites to determine a location. With a strong signal, this powerful technology takes about 12-30 seconds on average to find a location. 

If the signal is weak, this process gets prolonged significantly, and it can last up to 12 minutes.

Determining location is the activity that eats up battery power. In other words, the longer it takes for the app to pinpoint a location, it will consume more battery power. 

2. Refreshing Location at Regular Intervals

As time and attendance are tracked automatically with geofencing apps, they need to refresh employees’ locations periodically. Although checking location frequently ensures accurate, up-to-date position on the map, it can cause the battery to drop.

Again, there are other factors that contribute to the battery drain, including weak signal, running battery-hungry apps, and an already worn-out battery. 

With the right app and all of the other battery-draining factors eliminated, its depletion can be minimized.

What Else Eats Up Battery Power?

There are numerous causes for battery drain. It’s the everyday phone activities that are most likely squeezing more life out of your team’s batteries than needed.

Apps that wake the phone screen, the ones that often get online for the updates, and even the high-definition phone screen itself are the likely culprits that empty employees’ batteries. 

Screens and motherboards in the latest smartphones are better and more powerful, and they require a lot of battery juice to run. 

Wear and tear are another one of the main causes behind battery drain. There is a limitation to how many times a battery can be fully charged and discharged before its metrics begin to degrade. 

10 Tips on How to Get the Most Life From Your Device’s Battery With a GPS App

Although degradations occur over time, there are efficient ways to optimize some of the phone’s settings and get more from its battery. When discussing GPS tracking implementation with your employees, make sure to educate them on tips that will help them extend their battery life. 

1. Preserve the Optimal Life Span 

There are steps that can be taken to prolong the battery's life span. For starters, your employees shouldn’t let their batteries drop too low or fully discharge too often. Instead, encourage them to charge it periodically throughout the day and keep it charged between 40% and 80% most of the time.

This simple action will prolong the battery’s longevity and minimize the inevitable degradation. 

2. Keep Your Apps up to Date

Updating software regularly is important for multiple reasons. It will not only enhance security, but also help in extending the battery’s life. With every new update developers improve their products and fix security vulnerabilities.

Part of this improvement is to boost the app’s performance and optimize memory and device battery life. Warn your staff that outdated software can eat up more power than needed. 

3. Run GPS-Based Apps in the Background

Many people are cautious when it comes to GPS-based location tracking apps due to their impact on battery consumption. When looking for GPS and geofencing software, make sure to choose the one that can run in the background and still provide accurate tracking data. 

This way, the GPS-dependent app won’t cause battery drain while it's completing its functions.  

4. Limit the Usage of Power-Hungry Apps

For instance, Facebook is notorious for sapping battery resources on iDevices. There are more power-draining apps your field workers need to be mindful of. Some of them are running in the background without your staff realizing it, downloading data, or tracking location, and eating up their batteries.

Advise your employees to check battery usage per app so they can have a better understanding of what’s emptying their battery the most.

5. Reduce Screen Brightness 

Modern screens are better, larger, and more powerful, but they also use up battery more quickly when switched on. Reducing display brightness to a lower level can significantly extend battery life. And it can be easier on the eyes too.

Optimal brightness for your eyes is often lower than the one automatically set on the device. Encourage your employees to adjust it and find the brightness level that’s optimal both for their eyes and the battery longevity. 

Turning on auto-lock is another great way to reduce screen drain, as it turns off the screen after a minute of inactivity. 

6. Go With a Dark Mode and a Static Wallpaper

Devices with AMOLED or OLED displays provide their owners with an additional way to conserve their batteries. Opting for dark mode and dark wallpaper will make a significant difference because they are created by turning pixels off. 

And since every pixel is practically a light source, you’ll save your battery from depleting. 

On the other hand, LCD screens are designed differently - they don’t emit light on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Their pixels are illuminated by a backlight, so dark mode and wallpaper won't extend the battery's uptime. 

Still, bear in mind that wallpapers with special effects consume more power on any device. If keeping your battery charged is a priority, go with a static one.  

7. Put Your Phone in Airplane Mode

Next, make sure your mobile workers know that when they can’t recharge their phones, airplane mode is of great help in extending the battery's longevity. It will disconnect the device from the networks, disable the Bluetooth connection, and cut off radio signals. 

This means that all the phone calls, messages, and emails will be halted and the valuable battery juice will be saved. 

Although helpful when charging a phone isn’t possible, it’s important to note that turning the airplane mode on can affect mileage tracking accuracy. 

8. Take Advantage of Battery Saving Mode

Modern phones have this useful feature built-in, so encourage your teams to switch on power-saving mode to make their batteries last longer. This can be done either manually or automatically. It affects certain tasks and features.

For instance, apps running in the background may not send notifications or get updated.

9. Make Sure Your Charging Cord Is in Good Condition

Your team also needs to pay attention to their charging cords. In case it gets crimped or otherwise broken, it should be replaced. Charging at low amps can also cause issues, as it won't keep the charge. 

Your employees will only be able to use their phones for a couple of hours before having to plug it in again.

If none of the tips listed above work, it may just be the wear and tear, meaning it’s time for a new mobile battery. 

10. Replace a Worn Out Battery

As we’ve seen, time and use reduce the battery's life, and any battery can be recharged only a number of times before its performance starts to degrade. So, sometimes the only solution is to replace it. 

Encourage your employees to check their phone battery health. Generally speaking, mobile phone users can do this by navigating to the Setting menu of their devices.

If your team members notice a shorter battery cycle, they should further check its health with their phone provider, and replace it if necessary.

Phone Batteries Will Only Become Better

In the end, it’s good to remember that every year our everyday devices are getting better, quicker, and smarter. The same thing goes for batteries. With every new generation of smartphones, their life has improved.

This trend is expected to continue, so businesses can expect that in the future GPS tracking apps will consume less power than they do today. 

Choose Your GPS Tracking Software Wisely

GPS tracking apps reduce the strain on field teams and add another level of accountability to them. And most importantly, with more precise mileage and travel time tracking, companies can expect an increase in their revenues. 

Bear in mind that not all GPS tracking apps are created equal. When looking for a solution, make sure to opt for software like Timeero that works offline. This is a great feature for mobile teams that may get caught in areas with a poor internet signal. 

Their GPS location and time will be captured and stored on the device, and available in the cloud once the internet connection gets re-established.

Timeero is available on both Android and iOS platforms, and it enables accurate speed, distance, and time tracking for each location. With this smart solution in place, you will know where all your employees are and what job they are currently working on at all times.

We tested and compared best GPS employee tracker apps, so check out our article!

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Vesna Mihajlovic

Vesna is a psychologist, researcher, and writer with a wide range of interests focused on one goal: utilizing digital solutions to take businesses to the next level. Her expertise in human resources and workforce trends combined with her understanding of software’s role in business optimization is invaluable in helping them stay on top of the curve.

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