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Using a tool to compare the internal clock of my Android device to internet time servers, I noticed my device is 30 seconds wrong.

So that made me wondering what is the cause of this error. Where does Android gets it time from, so I can adjust or complain there:

I can think of the following sources:

  • Provided by the cellular network provider.
  • From GPS.
  • From a NTP server on the local WIFI network.
  • A global NTP server (hosted by Google)?
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I've never understood why smartphone clocks are typically never synchronised by the OS with the time data received from GPS. I understand that there are 3rd party apps that can do this, it just seems a really obvious feature. – Roberto Tyley Apr 9 '13 at 14:04

When I go to my Date & time settings, there is option that says: Automatic - Use network-provided values. So, basing on this wording (also in other languages), I would say that automatic time is provided from your carrier.

There are apps, that can sync your clock with GPS satellites or NTP servers.

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Note that there are carriers that doesn't provide time synchronization service, on those carriers you have to synchronize your clock manually – Lie Ryan Mar 24 '12 at 1:26
And without the device being rooted, those apps can only adjust the device's time when it's at least 30s off, unfortunately... – Izzy Mar 21 '13 at 16:39

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