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How to turn off GPS: A step-by-step guide

Stay untracked by turning off GPS!
May 21, 2022

First launched as a prototype satellite in 1974, the Global Positioning System provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth. The technology didn’t make its way to phones until 1999, but it continues to provide critical positioning capabilities and information to citizens and the military alike.

Thanks to this system, apps like Google Maps, Waze, and others can guide you to your destination. It’s also thanks to GPS that battery drain happens due to certain apps constantly getting your position. Luckily, it’s extremely simple to turn off GPS if you don’t want to use it for whatever reason. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to turn off GPS.

More: The best navigation apps available


You can turn off GPS on Android by going to Settings > Location and toggling off Use location.


Editor’s note: The following steps are based on a Google Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12. Steps might slightly differ on other Android devices and software versions.

Turn it off using the notification area quick toggles

  1. Swipe down on the notifications tray to open the quick settings tray.
  2. If you don’t see the Location toggle, swipe down again to display more options.
  3. If you still don’t see the Location option, tap on the Pencil icon and drag it to the top.
  4. Tap the Location shortcut to turn it off.

Use the settings to turn off GPS

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Location.
  3. Tap the Use location toggle at the top.


What is GPS?

GPS stands for “Global Positioning System.” It’s a positioning system using satellite and radio technology to determine a specific device’s location.

Why should I turn off my GPS?

While very useful, Global Positioning System is known for draining your battery pretty fast. You may want to turn it off to save some juice.

How accurate is GPS?

It depends. Different factors can alter accuracy, such as weather, blockage, satellite positioning, and atmospheric conditions. Under ideal conditions, though, a phone should be accurate to about 16ft.

Do I need data to use GPS? 

One of its biggest lures is that it needs no data to locate your device. That said, other features will require data, such as traffic information, and any mapping info that isn’t downloaded.