Is Google Maps draining your battery? Here’s how to fix it

by: Edgar CervantesOctober 3, 2015

Google maps new icon AA

Battery life – it’s one of those things every single one of us wants more of. And while it’s understandable apps will make that juice trickle out of your phone little by little, it seems some are just punching a whole through the battery and letting all the goods stream out.

Even more annoying is when you check your energy stats and find out Google Maps can be one of the biggest battery hogs around, as it’s not only a very important application, but it’s one that comes stock with every Android handset out there!

It’s true that Maps is a pretty heavy piece of software. It uses a significant amounts of data, processing power and battery. It’s always rendering new maps, grabbing business information, looking for your location and more. Is there even a way to fight this necessary evil? Not completely, but there are some tricks for improving the situation, and we are here to give you all those valuable tips!

Google Maps is offlineRelated: How to use your Google Maps offline13

HTC One M9 review aa battery

Turn GPS off!

One of the biggest battery hogs in your phone is GPS. That thing will kill your battery so quick you won’t even notice! But that is only if you let it. Of course, one can limit the use of apps that require GPS access… or one could just turn the thing off when not in use!

Most Android devices will have a GPS toggle in the notification area. Alternatively, you can just go to the Location options in the Settings and turn it off.

location_marker_gps_shutterstock Shutterstock

Disable Google Access Location

If turning GPS off is not enough, you can really kill location features. The only issue is that this will affect other services that may need this information to function, but some of you obviously don’t see much worth in that anyways.

If you fall within this pool of users, just head over to your Settings, select “Location” and turn off the feature.

google maps nexus 5 1

Clear the cache and data for Google Maps

App cache is usually a good thing. It stores data locally so your phone won’t have to load it from the internet every single time it’s needed. Cache can also misbehave or get old, though. It’s a good thing to clear it from time to time.

To do this, simply head over to your Settings app and hit on the “Apps” option. After accessing the App Manager, just look for the Google Maps app and tap on it. Inside you will find options to clear the cache and data.

Downgrade Google Maps

We are not very sure about this one, but plenty of online reports claim that Google Maps became an even bigger battery drainer recently. It might be worth a try, even if only to see if this works. Even if you will end up with an older version of Maps. Just keep in mind that when using an older version of Maps, the service probably won’t be as reliable as it would be if you were to use the latest version.

To do this, simply head over to the App Manager, find Google Maps and select it. There will be an option to “Uninstall updates”.

Google-IO-2013 Google Maps 6 logo 1600 aa

Disable Google Maps

If all else fails, and you really think Google Maps is the main cause of your battery woes, there’s always a last resort – disable Google Maps. In essence, this will make it as if the app is not even installed in your phone. Now, this is a stock application, so it can’t really be deleted. Google Maps will still be there, it just won’t be active. The icon, along with all its functionality, will disappear. This also means some other services that depend on Maps will fail to work.

Are you taking this step? Just head over to the App Manager and find Google Maps. Within the options there will be a “Disable” button. Tap on it and be on your way.

Google-IO-2013 Google Maps 99 1600 aa

Wrapping up

Sadly, Google Maps is one of those apps that we simply have to learn to live with (at least to a minimal degree). Hopefully these tips will help you keep it in check, though. Do hit the comments and tell us if you have tried any of these methods. Which one worked best for you?

  • Zak Taccardi

    Google Maps only uses your GPS while it’s in the foreground, or if you are using it to navigate.

    Otherwise it uses your network location, which is more battery friendly.

    I haven’t had any issue with Google Maps.

    • GrinigGammalGubbe

      If one has battery issues, one can always turn of wifi, bluetooth, mobile data and gps.

      Or set the phone to sync only when you open the app (like mail), it does wonders with the battery.

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  • sithishs

    I’m sure these recommendations work to save you battery life but what’s the point of having a smartphone if you turn all these features off? Might as well go back to a Moto RAZR.

    • I have to agree with you. I would rather find a charger more often than have a useless mobile experience. Too bad that is th reality of Google Maps.

      That said, I have recently started using Nokia Here maps, and I have to say, what a difference! Google Maps is awesome for just looking around and searching for information on locations but, unless something changes, I now completely shut down Maps and open Here for navigation. Here navigation, especially the offline capabilities, has been awesome. Sure, Google can find a route that will save me 2 minutes here or there, but I don’t care, Here is way better.

      • evo34

        What exactly is better about Here? (I have never tried it).

        • Simplicity, for starters. Again, simple is not what you want when you are just looking at a map, Google is way better there, but for navigation, Maps is way too busy, at least for me.

          Here Navigation works offline, which is important for me as I travel lots. Google has offline maps, sure, but no nav and it makes you reload the data way too fast. Can’t even go camping for the weekend and rely on Google Maps to get me back.

          When navigating, Google Maps is constantly making route suggestions, turn here, loop back 4 miles, jump over this river, it’ll save you 45 seconds! I get it, but I don’t always need it, just get me there without any fuss, Here is great at that. When online, Here still has traffic data, so it’s not going to mess you up either.

          Finally, Here has a speedometer built into Navigation. Not just that, it knows the speed limit of most roads and can tell you if you are speeding. Again, not that important in your own neighborhood, but a life saver when traveling to new places.

          Mostly, it is the offline capability that won me over.

          As for Waze, I haven’t used in a couple years, sorry, I don’t much remember it.

      • evo34

        Also, if you are from the US, how would you rate Waze vs. Here for driving directions?

  • Samip

    I love it , I want it :D

  • groundfighter

    I leave mine enabled for greatest accuracy, with 6 hour SOT, and 14 hour days per charge not a worry on my N6. Running M 3 preview and Blu_Spark kernel.

  • Rakesh Bhardwaj

    This is a regular problem with andriod authority who are anything but an ‘authority’ on andriod. They come up with these types of articles from time to time which offer nonsensical advice. Maps is a battery hog? Disable maps. Watch out for next weeks article about the screen being a battery hog. I’ll give you one guess as to the solution for that. Fact is that there are a lot of apps and functions that will eat up power. Trick is to turn them on and off as needed. I use location all the time. Uber is one of my most used apps. Guess what, my battery doesn’t drain quickly. Why? Because I manage my phone properly. Smart phones are only as smart as the people who use them.

    • Acrofilo

      Agree. They should ease up on the clickbait.

    • Actually, Google Maps is a serious battery drain, especially when it auto-starts and runs as a service in the background without an average user’s knowledge or consent. All of the advice Edgar has offered regarding Google Maps, does have credibility, and does reduce battery consumption to a significant degree.

      Not everyone knows how to “properly manage” all the intricacies of an Android phone like you do, and not everyone is a hacker, in fact most aren’t. Therefore this intriguing article will resonate to a greater audience because it makes a sense to the average lay user, while core hacker fanboys like you will just complain like cranky babies.

      • Rakesh Bhardwaj

        I’m not a Hacker. Just a guy that likes to get the best out of a £500+ device. I can’t see the point in spending so much money then turning functionality off. I also can’t see the point of providing what is clearly obvious. It’s like writing an article that advises swimmers to avoid getting wet by not jumping into a pool. finally I don’t care for reading the same articles again and again. Here’s a task. Compare and contrast this article with one from a year ago

        Hmm Android authority ? or expert in cut/paste ?

  • Ry Wong

    Today I tell you the best way to solve all battery draining problems: turn off your phone and never use it. Probably the battery could last for days or weeks

    • Photon

      Quality comment

      • OF

        He’s right though.

      • Diskus1

        And the article itself was much better!? It was a joke:

        1. Turn off GPS (removing function)
        2. Turn off Location (removing function)
        3. Clear cache (no change really)
        4. Downgrade (remove functions)
        5. Uninstall (remove alltogether)

        “Is Google Maps draining your battery? Here’s how to fix it” – “Uninstall it”…

  • abqnm

    The only part I leave disabled is Google Location History. It’s a nice feature, but it wakes the device hundreds of times a day, some of which use gps. With location history enabled, it costs me about 1-1.5 hours of screen on time over the course of a 10 hour day. If I’m at home all day and don’t move around a lot, it only wakes the phone a few times. But if you’re actively moving with the phone, it’s constantly waking up and tracking location history.

    The rest of the stuff here is really extreme. If you don’t use gps, turn it off. If you do, just leave it alone. And if play services is eating a lot of battery, disable location history first.

    • calvin35

      Listen to this person folks, they know what they’re talking about.

    • neo905

      Location history or reporting location button below that for your device? Or both?

      • abqnm

        The top level switch is for your whole account. It shuts it off for all devices. Otherwise you can toggle individual devices.

        • neo905

          I know. But which one is saving you battery? I only find the one for the individual device drains the most.

          • abqnm

            I have it disabled for all of my devices. But you have the option to turn off which ever devices are giving you problems or the whole account with one master switch. If you’re only having issues with one device, turn it off for that device. Make sense? I don’t know how else to make it any clearer.

  • Zabih Cino

    Bull sugar article. If the writer is not sure about something why bother writing an article which makes no sense. Every android app in every handset that comes built in is a crook

  • Flubber

    Root phone disable startup for map’s enable greenify with root and enable greenify system apps, problem solved

    • somedude

      thats what i do on every app that i don’t need running in the background & firewall everything that doesn’t need network access, also i disable all the logging “features” the battery saving is huge

      • Acrofilo

        This kind of discussion is a great firewall against any sort of ladies.

        • No need to be sexist, I can root any Android, and I’m a lady.

          • Rakesh Bhardwaj

            lol. That comment in itself is patronising to ladies. Think about it.

          • Oops! You’re petticoat is showing!

  • The mobile phone is a perfect vehicle, given its widespread adoption, even among the financially less well off. Growing economies worldwide are now focusing on mobile apps and mobility solutions to grow. Mobile development companies like MobileAPPtelligence and others are betting on apps for transactions.

    • Rakesh Bhardwaj

      Shameless ad for your own company. This just makes me want to avoid everything your company does.

  • Aaqib Ismail

    I like here maps better than Google maps anyways so I don’t need it

  • Marcin Lukaszczyk

    So when you turn off every thing how you wanna use map app beside that app doesn’t drine a battery so much

    • Aki I.


  • Brandito

    These are all terrible suggestions to fix a non issue. Slow news day? Someone trying to justify their job?

  • fitnesspro22

    I keep the Google maps off and it works fine, battery wise. Because I am a thinking individual, usually I know where I am going and do not need GPS. If I did not know my destination, I’d check it out before I get into the car. On a rare occasion, I will use it but would plug the phone in my car so that the battery stays full. It is as simple as that.. We used to say “Mind over matter.” Now, I say “Mind over computer.”. Happy motoring.

  • My Note4 have an ‘Ultra power saving mode’. This feature is also in the cheaper Samsung models. I wonder why it’s not in my Note3.???

  • Leon Greks

    God bless your giveaways

    • Rakesh Bhardwaj

      Givaways are often worthless or useless or both :)

  • Leon Greks

    On my Galaxy S3 Google maps is not bloatwear but there is plenty.I used hidden features function but they dont hide that well.

  • Jerry Rich

    Why not just turn the phone off?

  • hoggleboggle

    this is advice that is about 3 generations out of date. modern GPS chips and phones are actually very energy efficient. Even on my aging note 3 I only notice about a 10% drop in battery performance with location services on all the time

    • Rakesh Bhardwaj

      Same here. I have the Sony Z3. I travel the world and my company provides me with an unlimited data plan. I use maps all.the time either directly or indirectly via apps such as Uber. I’m a heavy user and battery life is a big concern yet using GPS maps etc along with WiFi Bluetooth etc along with reading emails and downloading large files still leaves me with plenty of juice to play boom beach when I’m sipping my gin and tonic in my hotel or at the airport bar. Trick is to know how technology works and adapt your usage patterns to make the best use of it. Turning functionality off? That’s old school. Educating yourself on how the device in your hand works is the way forward.

  • Sergio Arroyo

    If you have patiences and time: Root & install titanium backup and delete/uninstall Google maps.

  • Rakesh Bhardwaj

    Compare and
    contrast this article with one from a year ago

    Hmm Android authority ? or expert in cut/paste ?

  • Terry Barnhill

    I really hate it when an app punches a “whole” in my battery.

  • johnny pasco

    First off…Did you honestly just claim that Google Maps…Google Maps…is an “Unimportant App”. Wow, in terms of actual value and usefulness compared to the bloat of other useless apps which literally do nothing but some novelty. I cannot tell you how many times that Google Maps has saved my ass from hours of traffic delays, less stressful commutes, the location of a business or searches of a type of business around you and the contact information/pictures of the location/pictures of their interior or food/and reviews about peoples experiences there all right there after clicking on a business. The traffic feature alone is so simple, yet extremely accurate to the actual conditions on the road. Down to approx 10-15 minutes to of real time location of where exactly the traffic starts and where it begins to break up, in a simple green, yellow, red, black scheme to denote speeds.

    Oh and forget about the driving or traffic aspect of it completely…Google Maps ability to navigate you through major metropolitan areas using the option of public transportation is literally a life saver…even in the city of Chicago I grew up in, knowing all of the bus routes/numbers/where the stops are/ what options route and method of transit are there (El, bus, walk, Metra, etc) and what the ETA of each is to your desired stop. Along with being able to predict quite well most al of the time, the exact time in which one of the hundreds of busses will pull up to a certain stop or time the subway/el will be pulling into the station and which color line to get on…Using it in other cities where you have literally zero knowledge of their public transit system not only saves you hours of time asking for directions, being apprehensive about where your going, causing stress among the people your with, wasting money deciding to take a cab instead or getting on the wrong route.

    I am not even going to get into all of the other features that Google Maps has pioneered on not only the App platform but also the desktop version, and World, that allows you a view unlike any other at the World down to the view of someones house at street level which is halfway around the world. Apple has tried to copy it and failed miserably, now they are trying again and I am sure its actually useable this time but not even close to as good as Google Maps and never will be. Sure other apps like Waze have their merits over Maps in terms of novel features but do the same thing and none of them are any better on battery than Maps is…its primarily the fact that one is using the GPS having to ping different sats due to movement of the car, using data due to the fact they are driving and the mapping system is updating the traffic conditions and map view, along with possibly the biggest factor…the screen. Especially all these nice big screens out now, personally I have a Note 4 which has a battery unmatched my any other device with a similar screen size and the ability to use quick charging 2.0 allows you to go from 0% charge to approx 80% in about 20 minutes.

    Yes, I understand everyones hate of built in apps which cannot be deleted from the phone. However, I find that the bloatware added by the 3rd party service providers (ie. Verizon, ATT) is much much more annoying than anything added by Google. Now, how Google is able to provide such accurate traffic data down to almost the minute in real time and all the time is another story. What people do not get is that Google doesn’t have a dude in back listening to the radio of all the major cities listening for traffic reports and updates the Maps so accurately! No, no my friends Google is able to provide you this awesome feature due to the reason that you are the one providing the feature…in other words- when you have your GPS on and have maps open ( I am not sure, its possible that if it is closed but your GPS is on that it still will ping info about your speed and location) you are helping provide data to the massive system which amalgamates the terabytes of information (sorting out the info which isnt accurate, ie. someone walking next to a street does not mess the traffic view up to show cars are only moving at 3mph because the system is taught to throw out anomalies and look for the real trend which is the speed at which your moving and the location of your car…times that data by a few million handsets which are operating with GPS on and on the road and you are given the holy grail which is Google Maps. They have been given enough time to work the bugs out and yes they have added/taken away a few features which I didnt think was the best idea.,…but as a whole there is not anyone with something better than Google Maps and I highly doubt that there will be anytime in the near future….Happy Mapping :)

    • Rakesh Bhardwaj

      Lol. ^ what he said better than I ever could. :)

    • Diskus1

      PS. Waze was bought by Google last year and is getting more and more integrated with Maps. You can already see Waze notifications in Maps while driving.

  • Nissaninyo

    Who are the winners?

  • Can I do your spell checking?

  • Vic Manato Olivo

    I’m using SGT 2 7.0 P3100. It didn’t come with G Maps preinstalled. I’m surprised but thank God coz I don’t need it anyway.

  • Basu Kashyap

    i disabled the google maps but strangely it still crops up in my battery usage list with the majority battery drain of 30%!
    what can i do??