5 Types Of Android Apps That Make Good Use Of Your Location

Bertel King 25-12-2014

Using GPS and data networks to determine your location drains battery life, so is it even worth leaving this functionality on? Yes, yes it is. Here are five types of Android apps that will make you grateful your phone can determine where it is.


Driving & Getting Around

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. You’re going to need that GPS turned on if you want to use any apps for navigation. Whether it’s Google Maps, which comes installed on most Android phones out of the box, or an alternative such as Sygic or HERE, your phone simply cannot tell you how to get where you want to go if it doesn’t first know where you are.

Even if you aren’t driving, using your phone to help you get somewhere in any way besides calling someone will require your location. Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft use it to see which drivers are nearby and able to pick you up What Is Uber and Why Is It Threatening Traditional Taxi Services? Uber has landed, and it's fundamentally changing inner-city transit. And some might say, not entirely for the better. Read More .

Sharing Your Location

Say you’re running late to a social gathering and your friends have been badgering you ever five minutes wondering where you are. With an app like Glympse, you can let them track your position on a map for as long as you wish Glympse - A Safe & Simple Way to Share Your Location With Your Mobile Device Read More . This way they don’t have to ask where you are; they can just pull out their phone and see for themselves. If you use the app frequently, you might as well install Glympse Express to save you the effort of setting things up.

Maybe two of you are trying to meet up on foot. Rather than making a one-sided effort, it could help to share your locations simultaneously. Jink can help with that. It’s still in beta, but it’s publicly available to whoever wants to give it a go.

Discovering New Places

So you’re outside, you’re hanging with friends, and all the chips are in place to have a good time. There’s just one thing — you need something to do.


Your phone can help with that. Whether you’re looking for a place to eat, a spot to sleep, or simply somewhere to have fun, apps like Urbanspoon, ZagatFoursquare, and Yelp can help you (though you might want to be careful with that last one Yelp Can't Be Trusted: Try One Of These Alternatives Now Yelp has lost some ground when it comes to trust. At this point, Yelp's reviews have little redemptive value and users should look to an alternative service when finding local businesses. Read More ). They just need your location to do so.

Even if you already know where you’re going, that doesn’t mean you know much about the city you’re in. Field Trip can give you all sorts of historical information about the places you visit while also recommending cool places to check out when you have the time.

Being Social

So now you’ve found a nice place and you want to share it with others. Some social networks will save you the effort of manually typing out where you are. Facebook can automatically detect your city, and it encourages you to check in when you go somewhere.

But maybe your friends don’t use Facebook. If they use Foursquare, you can fire up Swarm to find out if any of them are nearby, and even if they aren’t, you can still check in to your current place to let them know where you are.  And in case you’re not ready to give up, Google+ lets you search for nearby users and posts as well.



Afterwards you can share your good time with the world on Twitter, which can append your current city to tweet. It’s not precise enough to share which bar you’re in, but that’s nothing a quick hashtag can’t fix.

Finding A Lost Device

Last night was a blast. Unfortunately, this morning isn’t. You’ve overslept because your alarm didn’t go off, and when you went to reach for it, the side table was bare. That’s right, you left it somewhere — or worse, someone stole it. You could try retracing your steps, but between the restaurant, the park, and the bar, it could be anywhere!

Fortunately you can sit down at your computer and find out exactly where it is if you have an anti-theft app such as the Android Device Manager, Lookout, or Cerberus installed. Hopefully it’s just sitting around on a table somewhere, but if a thief actually did walk off with it, at least you have an app installed that increases your odds of catching them The 7 Best Android Anti-Theft Apps to Protect Your Device If your Android phone gets stolen, you'll need a way to get it back. Here are the best Android anti-theft apps. Read More .


Which Apps Do You Love That Require Location?

With all that these apps have to offer, you’re missing out on a lot by leaving your location settings disabled (even though I understand why it may be tempting 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android Suffering from poor battery life on Android? Follow these tips to get more juice out of your Android device's battery. Read More ). Whether it’s getting from point A to point B or finding a lost device, some of this software has become practically essential. And the rest of it is just plain fun.

I’ve provided some examples here, but there are plenty of other types of apps out that ask permission to pull up your location How Android App Permissions Work and Why You Should Care Android forces apps to declare the permissions they require when they install them. You can protect your privacy, security, and cell phone bill by paying attention to permissions when installing apps – although many users... Read More . Which ones would you be lost without?

Related topics: GPS, Location Data.

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  1. Mike Hawke
    January 5, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Ok,let's get this straight, alot of us turn off the location/gps settings. I do not share my location with friends, do not use ANY social media bs, would never use UberLyft or any of those fads, I do use Google maps and Gps Plus alot, but turn of all location settings immediately after and scrub all my location histories right away. Not worried about NSA, more concerned about Google tracking my every move even in my own home!

  2. Rajesh
    December 27, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Mobile trackers are useless. The first thing a thief does is switch off GPS which makes trackers useless. Only security is remote wipeout switch planned by Apple, which makes stealing phones unfruitful

  3. Joe Poniatowski
    December 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Ingress - from the same folks that bring us Field Trip. Just be sure to choose Enlightened.

    • Mike_M
      December 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Especially if you love iPhone users. They're so enlightened...

      : P

  4. dragonmouth
    December 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    By all means leave your phone GPS on. It will allow not only your friends to track you but also the NSA, police, and burglars. The last will know exactly when to depart with their loot so that you do not suprise them in the act.

    • SpoonmanWoS
      December 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      By all means, believe that turning your GPS off ensures it'll stay off when they've decided to start tracking you. Obvious desperately-in-need-of-therapy level paranoia aside, how exactly do the burglars get to your GPS to know that?