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How to turn GPS on and off on Android OS


Even the most budget choice phone models are equipped with GPS module and location services. Let's talk about what it is, how can you enable or turn GPS off on Samsung Galaxy S20, S21, how to use GPS on Android phone.

Table of Contents

Why do I need GPS

There are many different apps for using GPS on a mobile device. Most often, these are navigation apps for checking where exactly you are and how can you get to the place you need. But apart from that there are dozens of other app scenarios. For example, if you want to publish a geotag or order a taxi or shipment of goods and so on, the place of your current location becomes of major importance. Even some game apps (such as GeoGuessr) require the use of GPS.

How to enable GPS on Android

The way of turning it on doesn't vary a lot on different Android OS versions.

Method 1

To enable GPS on Android (Samsung Galaxy S20, 21, 22),

  1. Open the Quick Settings panel where all the main Android functions and features are located.
  1. Tap "Location" or "Location Data". The name may vary depending on the version of your mobile OS.

Method 2

Wait for the app to ask permission to track your geolocation and grant it.

Method 3

  1. Tap on AndroidSettings.
  1. Go to Biometrics and security - Location".
  1. Enable user location data by moving the "Off" gear to the right.

How to calibrate GPS: best ways

If the GPS module on your phone breaks down, you have to replace it, but if it only shows the data on a map incorrectly and somehow deviates from the norm, there is a chance you might manage to solve such problem with the help of special mobile apps. There are two popular programs which can help with calibrating (i.e. improving the accuracy) of your GPS modules. Both of them can be found in Google Play Market.

GPS Status & Toolbox

The easiest way to calibrate is to use GPS Status & Toolbox. Apart from its other features, the app allows you to reset the satellites connection and adjust GPS accuracy almost "from scratch".

The GPS calibration is performed in the following way:

  1. Open the side menu (swipe from left to right),
  2. Select "Manage A-GPS state".
  1. Tap "Reset" and then "Download".
  1. Calibration will start and after it's finished the location services should successfully return to the full operation mode.

Useful information. You can read more about the calibration and configuration of GPS parameters here.

GPS Toolbox

GPS Toolbox is another app allowing to calibrate your GPS easily. In general, it's an extremely cross-functional software with many different features and functions of using geolocation.

Calibration via GPS Toolbox is performed as follows:

  1. Tap the Compass icon. And a virtual compass should open.
  1. If it shows everything with no mistakes, then the problem is with something else, but if its reading are inaccurate, the compass can be calibrated.
  2. Choose "Calibrate". In some versions of the app such option can be unavailable and in such case you only have to rotate your device from side to side and keep turning it over until the compass readings are more or less accurate.

Calibrating GPS in a regular way

And finally, a slightly more complicated option of configuring GPS settings is to use your phone built-in features. In order to do this you have to:

  1. Go to the engineering menu by dialing ##3646633*#*#. The combinations ##4636## or #15963# work less often;
  2. A special hidden menu should open. Select "EPO" and check "Auto Download" and "Enable EPO";
  3. Go back and select "YGPS - Satellites";
  4. You will see a satellite diagram indicating with colour the satellites that aren't connected;
  5. Go to the "Information" tab and select "Full" and "AGPS Restart"
  6. Go back to the satellite map
  7. In a while, the calibration should complete and the disconnected satellites will turn green again.

What to do if GPS won't work

Let's talk about all possible causes of GPS failure:

  • The GPS module broke down. The only solution is to take your phone to a repair service. If your assumption is confirmed, there are no ways how you can fix such problem via software.
  • Your phone is out of memory and there isn't enough space to activate satellites connection. In such case, you have to clean your phone in order to free some memory up and then restart the phone.
  • Malware presence. In this case, you should scan your mobile device via an antivirus and restart it.
  • Incorrect firmware. This might be the case if you've modified your phone with unofficial firmware. Give a try to performing Hard Reset.
  • Weak satellite signal. In spite of the fact that the majority of the Earth surface is covered by GPS-satellites network sometimes, especially in remote places, GPS signal can be extremely weak. In such case, you have to move to another place.

How to turn gps off (partially or completely) GPS on Android

If for any reason you're unwilling to allow determining your location or if you simply want to save your phone battery as much as possible, GPS can be turned off.

In order to turn on GPS on Android or disable GPS satellite connection:

  1. Open the Quick Settings panel via which you've enabled the feature,
  1. Find the "Location data" button (depending on your OS version, it may also be called "Location". "Position" or "GPS") and tap it.
  2. The shortcut will fade from green to gray: the feature is disabled.

If you want to increase your battery life and continue to use the GPS Navigation functions at the same time,

  1. Go to the "Settings - Battery- Power Mode".
  1. Choose Medium power saving mode.
  1. GPS will immediately turn off, but your phone will keep on determining the position by mobile stations and WiFi hotspots.


Why does GPS work all the time?

You can disable GPS through your phone settings at any time. Connection with GPS satellite is required only when using navigation applications. In this case, you will be prompted to use Location on your phone. You will need to allow access to the GPS functions.

In all other cases, you can turn off location services.

How to activate GPS on Android via Settings.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on the 'Location' menu item. *
  3. Move 'Location' to the On position to activate it.
  4. Move the slider to Off position to disable GPS.

* This section may also be called 'Location services' or 'Location access', depending on the device model or Android version.

How to check if the phone's GPS works.

You can find out if the location services on your Android phone work as follows:

  1. Swipe down the notification panel from the top of the screen
  2. Locate the GPS icon and check if it is on or off
  3. Tap the icon to change the status (on / off)
  4. Swipe up the notification panel to continue
  5. You can also use Quick settings panel to find out the GPS status

How do I know if my phone has GPS?

You can check if your phone has GPS through the device specifications available in the owner's manual.

However, most Android and iOS phones have the global-positioning system implemented as a tracking chip. This allows the use of mobile navigation systems and location for emergency workers and services 911 everywhere.

Why the GPS does not work even though it is enabled in Settings

  1. It may be Google Maps or another navigation device software issue you're using. Update the app to the latest version.
  2. The GPS satellite connection may be lost. Change your current location.
  3. The GPS module on your phone is not working due to a damage. Contact the service center to find out the reason.

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.