When you initially turn on your smartphone and go through the setup process, you’ll be prompted by the system about whether or not you want to enable location services. Location services will include GPS tracking, among other things, and that will allow access to the information you may not want everyone to know about every minute of the day.
In many cases, people skip right over this part of the setup with the intention of possibly activating the services at some point in the future. If you did that as well, and you’re now thinking about enabling those location services, you can find out everything you need to know in the content below.
Keep in mind that many of the applications that you use on your smartphone won’t be very effective unless location services have been turned on and your phone is GPS-enabled. It might be scary to see an application asking what your current location is, but you have to remember that the reason you’re being asked this question in the first place is to improve your smartphone experience.
Apps like Google Maps use this location information to pinpoint your exact location from one place to another. Even if you don’t use Google Maps very much, other apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare will all make use of your current location in order to tag photos or possibly just check you in at a nearby restaurant.
If your location services are not enabled, it will be much harder, and probably even impossible, for your apps to provide you with these services. If you’re a person who likes to play it safe and checks with your business consultant first, you can do so on this page.
What is GPS?
GPS is a term that has come to refer to satellite navigation, and this makes use of signals which are transmitted along lines of sight from satellites. A GPS chip is a silicon chip that makes use of a front-end antenna so that it can act as a receiver for navigation data transmitted by satellites.
A GPS chip will be able to obtain a lock on a location when three or more satellites are in its line of sight. When the lock has been obtained, the GPS chip is able to calculate your precise location, and transmit that data to your host, e.g. Android. There are several different formats used by GPS including NMEA and RINEX, although most GPS chips tend to use the NMEA format.
The GPS chip in your smartphone will interact with the host using an established data protocol, which you don’t need to know about, because that all takes place behind the scenes. The important thing to remember is that your GPS chip can establish a precise location as long as it is in the direct line of sight of at least three satellites.
How to enable GPS on your Android
Here are the instructions you should follow in order to enable GPS on your Android phone:
- Starting at your home screen, call up the Settings menu. If you happen to be running Jelly Bean, you’ll have to swipe the notification bar down and then tap the icon for Settings. If you’re using a Samsung device, navigate to the home screen and tap Menu>Settings.
- Scroll down to the section labeled Personal.
- From this position, your phone should show a menu option for Location Access or Location Services. Whichever one you see on your smartphone, tap on this.
- From this screen, you can turn on or turn off any of the potential location services provided by your phone. This will allow you to still have some control over how much access anyone will have to your personal information. Be aware that any location services which you deny or do not enable, may have an impact on various apps you might be using in your daily routine.
- On most smartphones, the location services specified will include Google’s location services as well as Standalone GPS services that are available on your phone.
What’s provided by each service?
If you’re not familiar with exactly which kind of services are provided by some of these location settings, here is a summary of what you can expect. Stand-alone services make use of your phone’s GPs in order to identify your precise location. Google location services primarily make use of Wi-Fi in order to determine where you’re at. There’s no real reason to turn these off since they really don’t give anything away.
Carrier location services use your carrier’s cell towers in order to pinpoint your precise location. Many people overlook this option because they aren’t sure what it is, but it makes use of a triangulation process to identify exactly where you happen to be at the moment, provided you’re within reasonable proximity to your carrier’s cell tower.
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