Is there any way to have certain apps automatically turn on GPS when they launch (or at least prompt me if I want to)?

For example, if I use voice commands to ask for navigation directions, and GPS is not turned on, I'd like for it to enable GPS instead of guessing from cell towers. Bonus points if it turns it back off when I close the app.


Take a look at Tasker. It pretty much allows you to automate and set rules for everything on your phone based on times of the day, what apps you are using, your location... You can set a profile to automatically turn your GPS on or off based on almost any condition you can imagine.

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    Looks like a less expensive alternative to Locale? – keithjgrant Sep 14 '10 at 17:07
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    I believe it is although I have never looked much into Locale because I thought it was for profiles that are only based on location. – Matt Sep 14 '10 at 17:13
  • It would be great if you could point directly to instructions for how to set this up. – endolith Nov 20 '10 at 4:57
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    Directions: Create a new Profile, first context "application", select all the apps that depend on GPS, click Done, + to add action, Misc --> GPS, set On. Done done apply – endolith Nov 21 '10 at 16:54

Even if you do have GPS enabled it's only used when you are using an application that is actually requiring GPS location services.

So the best way to get your apps to use GPS location is turning on GPS by default.

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    It's my understanding that a lot of the apps that run in the background will utilize the GPS if you have it on like Facebook or even your browser, hence the battery drain. Correct me if I'm wrong but if you only need GPS for your Maps app then it's best for battery performance to turn it on or off as you use Maps so those other apps don't utilize it and drain your battery. – Matt Sep 14 '10 at 6:28
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    Hi Matt, from what I have read (I cant find the links right now) it shouldn't affect the battery much if at all, the only exception I can find to this is if you are using the Navigation software and return to the home screen. You can see in the notification area that it is still navigating. hth. – Pace Sep 14 '10 at 7:34
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    Every time that I've seen the browser use my location it's only used the "coarse" non-GPS location (ie cell-tower or WiFi type location finding). This is certainly the case for when you allow the Google homepage to know your location for local searches. Never seen Facebook use my location at all? – GAThrawn Sep 14 '10 at 13:49

If you don't want to pay for Tasker or Locale, you can use AutomateIt, which is free and has the same idea, though it offers much fewer triggers and actions, it does allow you to enable or disable the GPS when you start or end an app.


Note that turning on the GPS programmatically seems to be impossible without rooting your device after 2.3 (according to the AutomateIt description).


You can use the "Auto-Enable GPS for Maps" application, which switches both WiFi and GPS on when you launch Maps, Navigation, Local or Latitude, and restores them to their old state (e.g. switched off) when you quit these apps.

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    Are you affiliated with this app? – ale Jun 26 '13 at 16:05

I published a GitHub entry for the GPSToggler quite some time ago.

To enable/disable GPS you need root. Period.


Some antivirus and automatic system backup applications conflict with the GPSToggler. I'm investigating this problem.

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    It's great that you've written this app, but could you describe how it helps the OP to get GPS enabled automatically? – Dan Hulme Jun 29 '13 at 10:02
  • A part of the sources deals with this exact problem. It recognizes whenever Waze, Google Maps or iGo is foreground app or not. – OGP Jun 30 '13 at 5:57
  • Please go ahead and add this information to your answer. Installation instructions would be useful too, as most users aren't used to installing software from source. – Dan Hulme Jun 30 '13 at 7:12
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    No point doing that. There are quite a lot of automation applications free and paid on the Google Play. My sources are intended for programmers who can understand the processing and create their own applications. – OGP Jul 1 '13 at 7:46
  • The audience of this site is Android users, so you can't assume that readers here understand about programming. Questions and answers that are only useful to programmers are usually closed or deleted. – Dan Hulme Jul 1 '13 at 7:50

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