- Why does the status bar on top of my screen always show that GPS is running?
- What can I do to improve alert reliability?
- What if I feel the app still uses too much battery?
- Get news & hints for using MapAlarm on Twitter
Why does the status bar on top of my screen always show that GPS is running?
MapAlarm keeps running in the background – therefore it can alert you even if your iPhone/iPad is idle or if you’re currently using a different app.
But please don’t worry about battery life! GPS is turned off by default when MapAlarm is running in the background. The arrow icon on top of your screen does not mean that GPS is turned on but only location services in general. While in background MapAlarm uses battery-friendly wifi / cell tower positioning (power-saving mode).
So in short it’s nothing to worry about if the GPS icon appears in the status bar while you have active alarms. Your battery won’t get drained.
What can I do to improve alert reliability?
MapAlarm has been optimized for great reliability. However there’s one setting that can heavily affect precision – that’s if wifi is turned on. Please note that for best results wifi needs to be turned on in your device’s settings. However you needn’t be connected to any wifi network, of course.
The reason for this is simple: In order to save battery MapAlarm uses GPS as rarely as possible. Instead it determines your position by gathering which wifi networks are currently available around you – that’s much more battery-friendly than GPS. But if you turn wifi off, MapAlarm has no access to the list of wifi networks in range & can only gather your position from nearby cell towers. As their range is usually much larger that the range of wifi networks, location reliability will drop considerably with wifi turned off.
So for best results please don’t turn off wifi when using MapAlarm with active reminders.
What if I feel the app still uses too much battery?
MapAlarm is well known for not draining batteries and was heavily optimized not to do so. Thus usually it’s just a settings issue & there’s certainly a solution!
First of all, when actively using the app, GPS needs to be turned on. That may cost very little battery, but that’s necessary to display your position on the map. However as users tend to use MapAlarm only for a short time this usually doesn’t hurt at all.
But when the app is running in background it usually doesn’t use any battery at all: Don’t let the purple triangle in the status bar mislead you – GPS is turned off by default, and wifi monitoring is only used to gather your precise location when you’re approaching an alert spot. Most of the time MapAlarm only uses battery-friendly cell tower positioning.
So if you experience some strange battery drain, please follow these steps:
1. please make sure your wifi is turned on! This helps MapAlarm to find out your location without using GPS. If, however, wifi is turned off your device may turn on GPS (without “asking” MapAlarm) to gather location data.
2. please make sure no other app uses background location! In most cases when users feel MapAlarm uses too much battery this is in fact due to some other app using GPS in background … one usual suspect is Google Latitude, but there are many apps that may be using background location. You can verify in Settings / Location services which app currently uses location data. Just turn off location services for other apps to identify the cause.
3. to reduce battery drain to near-zero, please make sure you’ve set the “Pover saving / GPS off” setting (bottom of Setting screen) to “when locked or in background”. This is the default setting but it may have been changed before. GPS will then be turned off in background. Wifi positioning will still be used when approaching alert spots.
4. if you still feel this costs too much battery (max. about 3%/h while constantly roaming close to an alert spot) you can turn off wifi positioning as well. To do so, please set “SmartMode” to off in Settings. Please note that in this case MapAlarm can only use cell towers for monitoring. Positioning accuracy will drop to about 500m.