The Global Positioning System (GPS) on your phone is a very useful feature. It can work with Google Maps to become a satnav, track your runs and hikes, or in more recent months even be used to hunt down rogue Pokemon through the wildly successful Pokemon Go game.
It’s no fun then when a GPS signal is unreliable or slow and you can’t find the Pikachu you’re after. So here are a few tips on how to avoid these problems and speed up GPS on Android.
How to speed up GPS on Android: Granting access to location data
It's easy to overlook, so one of the first things you should ensure is that the app you’re using has access to your device’s location. If you’re installing an app for the first time - say Pokemon Go - then those running Android 6.0 and above will be asked by the app for permission to use location data. Tap Allow to make this happen.
If the app is already installed on your device then you’ll need to open the Settings menu then find the Apps option in the Device section. Tap this then tap on the app itself. Scroll down until you find the Permissions section, tap that then look to see if Location is switched on.
How to speed up GPS on Android: Using High Accuracy
The GPS on your handset has a few different settings that affect both its accuracy and power consumption. If you want the best GPS signal then you’ll need to put your phone in High Accuracy mode, but be aware that this will drain your battery a bit quicker than the normal mode.
Changing the mode is very easy. First off you’ll need to open the Settings menu then under the Personal section look for Location. You can see beneath the heading whether the service is switched on and what mode it’s currently set to.
Tap Location then select Mode from the top of the list of options. In here you’ll find three settings : High Accuracy (which gives the best results because it not only uses GPS but also incorporates the signals from WiFi, Bluetooth, and your mobile network), Battery Saving, and Device only.
Tap High Accuracy to change the mode.
How to speed up GPS on Android: GPS app
There are a number of GPS apps on the Google Play Store that are designed to improvement performance in subtle ways. One of the most popular is GPS Status & Toolbox by MobiWIA, with over 10 million downloads and an average rating of 4.5 / 5. The basic version of the app is free, incorporating a few ads, but upgrading to the Pro version only costs £1.49, which is well worth the money.
One of the best features on GPS Status & Toolbox is ability to download A-GPS XTRA Data. This is additional information that fine tunes the system, speeds up your GPS, and generally makes things a bit sharper. You don’t need a Pro account to access this facility, but you will need to manually clear the cache and download new data for the A-GPS XTRA feature every few days. Of course a Pro account does this automatically.
Alongside the A-GPS XTRA data, the app also has an excellent compass, levelling tool, and the ability to set waypoints.
So there you go. A few tips on how to power-up your GPS. Now you’re prepared to head out into the world and always knowing where you’re going. Just remember to pick up a battery pack or two if you’re planning long journeys or Pokemon Go adventures.
Check out our roundup of the Best Power banks to make sure you never run out of juice.