I turned on geo-tagging for photos, but the problem is that the GPS locking procedure seems to only start when I open the camera app - but it takes minutes for it to lock on a location and by that time the photo opportunity is gone.

Is there any way to enable GPS lock to be ready even before opening the camera app? For instance some phone settings to toggle it off and on, or some service I can get which continuously runs in the background and maintains a GPS lock?

And if there is, what will be the power implications of maintaining a GPS lock? Does it drain a lot from the battery, or is it relatively benign?

My device is Samsung Galaxy S 2, running Android 2.3.3.

  • Ooh, good question. Maintaining a GPS lock generally uses a fair bit of battery. What phone do you have? Many phones have built in GPS test modes that would likely work for this, but they're manufacturer- and often device-specific. Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 17:38
  • @Matthew added my device details.
    – Oak
    Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 22:12
  • Have you tried just taking the photo? Does it store any coordinates in the photo details? I'm thinking (if they designed it well) it could take the photo immediately then update the coordinate details when the lock is achieved.
    – sickgemini
    Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 23:30
  • @sickgemini I looked at the image details and it says "Location: Unknown location, Latitude: Unknown, Longitude: Unknown"...
    – Oak
    Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 5:55
  • I often fire up the GPS status app, wait for it to get a lock and then switch to the camera app (without closing GPS Status). GPS Status seems to get a lock a lot faster, forces download of the GPS assistance data, and also gives you much better feedback while a lock's being acquired. market.android.com/details?id=com.eclipsim.gpsstatus2
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 13:06

2 Answers 2


I've found that if I'm using another app in the background that polls for location (e.g. latitude in Maps) I tend to get much more accurate geo-tags in photos. YMMV, but perhaps if you know you're going to be shooting photos you can open up Maps or similar first to start the process going.

WRT your battery life question, leaving maps open tends to destroy my battery in a few (5-7) hours (Dinc 1, known for horrible battery life anyway, even among android phones), especially if I'm shooting a number of photos. When I know I'm going to be using my phone in that manner I typically bring a second battery along, so that when I'm done I can still make calls.


I'm starting GpsFix before any app that use GPS https://market.android.com/details?id=com.androidlab.gpsfix

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