At this point in the film, nobody conceives a smarphone without GPS. Geo-location services have become too useful and essential for certain services and applications of our mobile. There are so many uses that it is very common to always have it activated as a more comfortable measure. But as in everything, there are several advantages and disadvantages of keeping the GPS always activated.
It is true that many users, including this humble editor, prefer to manually control the GPS and activate or deactivate it depending on the needs. This stocking requires the cumbersome need to walk pressing the GPS button several times a day. However, the vast majority always have it activated, with the advantages and disadvantages that this implies.
Almost all of the apps that we have installed on our mobile make more or less use of geo-location services, which require that our GPS is active. If we leave the GPS always activated, the advantages in this regard seem clear:
- Real-time clock or time zone anywhere in the world: It is the most comfortable way so that the time is always activated. If we travel our mobile phone can change the time and location automatically.
- Updating weather conditions in real time: equally useful on short or long trips, since our weather app will always show the updated weather wherever we are.
- Use of transportation or fast food services: From ordering a pizza to ordering a taxi, many of these services can use our location to proceed with our requests.
- Geo-tagging of images and videos: in this way, our photos will have a metadata that will reveal where and when the photos were taken. It is a perfect way to find them in the cloud storage services.
That in the list of inconveniences we find fewer points, it is not necessarily that they are less important.
- Privacy at stake: Many apps make legitimate use of geo-location permissions, but having the GPS always on is an open door for those who do not operate cleanly. Privacy is an aspect that is always in question, and GPS is a breeding ground so that our location can put our privacy at stake, and in the worst case, security.
- Battery duration: as many as the processors are becoming more efficient, an always-activated GPS continues to “eat” the autonomy of our mobile. Many applications, even if they are not in use, continue to make use of geo-location services in the background, so they generate an energy expense that translates into a mobile phone that will drain the battery faster.
What is the most advisable then?
The disadvantages weigh too heavily on the advantages of having the GPS always activated. Therefore, the ideal is that it is the user himself who activates and deactivates the GPS as many times as necessary depending on the need. Each application will notify us that it needs to make use of GPS if necessary, so they themselves act as a reminder. The rest of the time, just like turning off the light when leaving home, we should keep the GPS off.
Similarly, Android modified the permissions in Android 10, allowing us have the GPS always on but with much more controlled apps. Within the settings and privacy menu, we will find a section where we will see the permissions of the applications. Inside we will see each section to which the apps have permission. Within the GPS option, we can choose to grant permanent GPS permission, only when the app is in use or never. Likewise, there are still the usual tricks to not have the GPS active, such as pre-loading the maps before leaving on a trip, as an example of one of the most common uses of geo-location.