I have a HTC One S with Android 4.1.1 installed.

I recently got the "google settings" app and checked the settings in there. Under the field "location" is a switch to "Let google apps access your location" with a note that apps may access your location while the app is not being used.

If I switch that off, the GPS is not activated when I start google maps - and therefore renders it pretty useless for me. I even get a message telling me to switch google location on if I want to have a location based map. So here is the question:

When this setting is switched on, do I risk that other apps (google search or whatever else I have installed from google) will take my location from the Wifi connection or cell tower and transmit it to google for storage, or even the GPS data?

Is there any way to enable GPS in maps but not my location for all other apps, too? I am worried that the setting is a "Either you do not use Google maps, or we will know and record whenever, wherever you are". Is that the case?

I have so far only this question here but it seems to say there that the google location service does not affect GPS - but for me it does.

2 Answers 2


That strongly depends on the app used. Unfortunately, since Froyo (Android 2.2) the options "use location service" and "permit Google to collect" are connected and undividable (before you could chose them separately). So if an app uses the Google Framework's location service to obtain position data, it won't work without that service enabled. If it accesses GPS itself, it would work with or without.

Only way out of this trouble would be to root the device, and then use a permission protector like e.g. LBE Privacy Guard or PDroid Privacy Protection / PDroid Manager, which let you decide on a per-app basis which app is permitted to access a service/certain data (many possibilities here, not only location).

  • "If it accesses GPS itself, it would work with or without." It seems google maps cannot use GPS w/o this service enabled. The GPS logo does not pop up on the top bar, and it asks me to switch on the location permission. That is my central question.
    – uncovery
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 7:58
  • Well, short counter-question: Would you expect a Google app to not use the Google Framework, where the needed functionality is available, but implement that again? So no, Google Maps will not work without that. An alternative mapping/navigation app might.
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 8:01
  • 1
    I would expect Google Maps to simply use GPS and not try to locate me through WiFi and cellphone towers when the service is off OR have a separate setting for maps. It seems like the general usage of maps + GPS forces you to enable ALL apps to track your whereabouts 24/7 - through GPS, WiFi and celltowers - which I consider over the top.
    – uncovery
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 8:04
  • Welcome to the real world! And no solution to that without rooting your device, sorry. Although a corresponding issue (permission control) was opened with the Google tracker about 2 years ago, that permanently gets closed by Google stuff with remarks like "works as intended", and additionally tickets for this just get closed as duplicates.
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 10:52

My experience proofs is the same - original google maps are not working without the GPS being ON (on android 6). (But it works without access to the GPS). When the GPS is off it just request a permission. After GPS on - it is working, I don't know what is google doing with my GPS data and why it is not possible to run this app without any GPS - as the desktop/browser version.

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