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

Stay untracked by turning off GPS!
By

Published onAugust 20, 2023

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 other navigation apps 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, turning off GPS is extremely simple if you don’t want to use it for whatever reason. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to turn off GPS.

QUICK ANSWER

You can turn off GPS on Android by going to Settings > Location and toggling off Use location. If you use an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services, then toggle off Location Services and confirm by hitting Turn Off.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Editor’s note: The following steps are based on a Google Pixel 7 running Android 13 and an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17.0. Steps might slightly differ on other Android devices and software versions.

How to turn off GPS on Android

Android makes it easy for most users to turn off the GPS straight from the Quick Settings.

Turn it off using the Android 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.

You can also go the slightly longer route and use the Settings app.

Use the settings to turn off GPS on Android:

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

If you don’t want to turn off location services altogether, you can also turn off the use of precise location. This will avoid using GPS, but still get an estimated location using other data.

Turn off the use of precise location on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Location.
  3. Tap on App location permissions.
  4. Select the app you want to change the setting for.
  5. Toggle off Use precise location.

How to turn off GPS on an iPhone

There are some methods for turning off your iPhone GPS, too. The easiest one is to turn off the location services altogether.

How to turn off location services on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Privacy & Security.
  3. Tap on Location Services.
  4. Toggle off Location Services.
  5. Confirm by tapping on Turn Off.

Just like in Android, you can also turn off precise location on a per-app basis. This will stop specific apps from using the GPS and will rely on less energy-draining location methods, instead.

Turn off the use of precise location on an iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Privacy & Security.
  3. Tap on Location Services.
  4. Select the app you want to change the setting for.
  5. Toggle off Precise Location.

FAQs

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

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.

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.