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GPS Tracking

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

October 11, 2021

The development of location-based automated solutions has been immensely helpful in keeping track of the physical location and hours worked by mobile teams. Nevertheless, with the emergence of every new technology there are certain issues that make employees reluctant to adopt it.

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. 

Shortened battery life has been one of the challenges in GPS capability adoption. It’s only natural that the workers using it are concerned whether their phone will crash during the day leaving them without means to communicate and log their mileage and hours worked. 

Helping your employees understand how GPS-dependent apps affect battery life will boost your team’s morale. They will rest assured knowing that their devices won’t suddenly die off with the GPS usage. 

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

Does GPS Tracker Drain Phone Battery?

It is not unusual for mobile workers and remote teams to be concerned about GPS and geofencing features resulting in their phones running out of juice. 

These employees depend on their devices to communicate with the rest of the company or track their work and mileage, so having a reliable, working device is important to them.

So, does leaving your location turned on drain your battery?

GPS-dependent apps do 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. 

a person checking if gps tracking drains mobile battery

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. 

  1. Refreshing Location at Regular Intervals

As time and attendance is tracked automatically with geofencing apps, they need to refresh employees’ location 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 Are the Benefits of GPS and Geofencing in Business Operations?

Although a GPS tracking app impacts battery drain to a certain level, the benefits of this technology in different industries that rely on mobile workforces are numerous and powerful. 

From having real-time full team visibility and making better use of employees’ time, to automating low-level tasks so your staff can focus on more valuable activities that bring profit. 

The term geofencing refers to technology that enables companies to create an electronic boundary around a physical location. This virtual barrier uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) points and it can be set up for multiple purposes. 

Less Strain on Field Teams 

With geofencing in place, the number of repetitive, mundane tasks your mobile staff needs to take care of will be down to a minimum. They won’t have to worry about clocking in and out and having to keep track of what they were working on that day. 

Greater Accountability 

Capturing GPS coordinates adds another level of accountability to your team. Aside from this, a GPS tracking system can help with preventing buddy punching, time theft, and simple forgetfulness. 

Real-time GPS tracking can motivate employees to complete their tasks as expected, on time, efficiently, and by following the company’s standards. 

It can also provide them with more clarity on the performed job and its results, allowing them to self-correct and improve.

Improved Data Security

Businesses with high-security operations can benefit from this advanced technology. It has the ability to disable a device that contains classified information when that device crosses a set perimeter. 

More Accurate Paychecks

The usage of GPS tracking is beneficial to both the employees and the employer. Your mobile teams can rest assured knowing they will be paid fairly and for the exact hours they have worked

Accuracy of mileage reimbursements is also greatly enhanced. 

It should be mentioned that work environments where there is more transparency and more accurate hour tracking tend to have a positive effect on worker’s motivation and their work satisfaction

Precise Mileage and Travel Time Tracking 

With a workforce that’s on the move, it’s vital to be able to determine their routes, and make sure they are completing their daily tasks at the right time and location. A reliable GPS location tracking tool will capture the exact GPS coordinates, even when the phone is offline.

In addition to more precise mileage tracking, smart tech solutions such as Timeero, allow you to track the exact time for each location, and provide businesses with an easy way to calculate travel time and mileage.

Ultimately: Greater Profitability

Precise mileage and time tracking lead to more detailed reporting, and also to identifying and subsequent optimizing of inefficiencies. With smart tech solutions, companies are able to cut fuel costs, boost employee productivity, and ultimately increase revenue

What Eats Up Battery Power? 

We’ve addressed the question of how much battery location services use, so let’s take a look at what else eats up mobile battery power. There are numerous causes for battery drain. And it’s the everyday phone activities that are most likely squeezing more life out of your battery 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. 

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. 

When the battery’s charge cycles are spent, the user will notice that their smartphones aren’t lasting as long as they used to. 

There is another issue - screens and motherboards in the latest smartphones are better and more powerful. This is one of the reasons why although the charge capacities of brand new phones are larger, they still may not outperform their predecessors. 

They require a lot of battery juice to run. 

Aside from these factors, employees often ask if location features use battery power. And, as mentioned earlier, this thesis isn’t completely unfounded. GPS features do consume a certain amount of phone battery. 

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 battery’s longevity and minimize the inevitable degradation. 

  1. 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. 

  1. Keep Your Apps up to Date

Updating software regularly is important for multiple reasons. It will not only enhance security, but it also helps 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. 

  1. 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 a 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.  

  1. 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.

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.  

  1. Take Advantage of Battery Saving Mode

Modern phones have this useful feature built-in, so encourage your teams to switch on a 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.

  1. Make Sure Your Charging Cord Is in Good Condition

Another thing that your team needs to pay attention to are 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. 

  1. 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

Get Your Employees on Board 

To successfully implement new tech solutions in your daily business processes, you need employee buy-in. In addition to the GPS tracking app being notorious for battery drain, there are some other issues that may influence your staff’s attitude towards these types of software.

So, how can you get them on board with the GPS tracking software? Here’s what you can do!

Address Employee Concerns

Although location tracking systems benefit both the employer and the employees, it is not unusual for the workers to have certain concerns about apps that are able to monitor their location during working hours. 

Employees are concerned about the safety of their personal data on their devices and whether they are going to be used for work. And of course, tracking the location of their devices by their employers is yet another matter that worries today’s workforce.

When implementing any new technology, it is crucial to properly address any privacy and legal concerns your team members may have. 

In addition to clarifying the purpose and usage of GPS-tracking software, employers can encourage their team members to adopt these new solutions by stating their benefits

And of course, don’t forget to inform your employees of its battery life implications

Educate Your Employees

Before implementing this technology, or any other, make sure to educate your team on how to use the novel software. And don’t forget to include information on GPS tracking apps and battery drain. Understanding how GPS tracking affects their phone’s charge cycle will ease their concerns. 

Explain how GPS tracking works, why is it important for the company to know their whereabouts and how much time they spend actively working.

Aside from this, they will certainly appreciate tips on how to extend their device’s battery life

Walkthrough Your Staff on GPS Tracking App

Set up demos with your staff so they can see how the app works, provide you with feedback, and ask questions. The next step is to allow them to test it and get familiar with the app

Also, by trying it out, they’ll be able to better understand its impact on the phone’s battery

Equip Your Teams With Safety Nets 

In addition to educating your staff on how to save battery life, there is another thing you can do to have them rest assured while using the GPS app. Make sure to provide them with safeguards

Your field employees want to avoid their phones dying before clocking out for the day, or log in their miles and hours worked. Make additional equipment available to them in case they run out of juice. 

When it comes to mobile employees, rechargeable portable chargers or power banks can be life-saving. 

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 Software Wisely

Not all GPS tracking apps are created equal. When looking for a solution, make sure to opt for a 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 device, and available in the cloud once the internet connection gets reestablished.

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.

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