Your Kids Can Easily Deactivate Location Services
So you think you have it under control. You can check on your kids to find out where they are using the GPS on the phone. You might have a spy-app that is keeping an eye on them, or you might be using Google's Location History.
Then one afternoon, there is no tracking history. You can't find them on the GPS tracking on anything you have in place. You begin to panic.
What could have happened? Your kids can easily deactivate location services and beat the GPS tracker.
1. Your child could have turned OFF the phone. It doesn't get more simple than that.
2. In Android phones, you child could have turned off the location or GPS feature. You would be surprised how often that happens.
Think I'm kidding?
How can I prevent my parents from tracking my device? I have heard that I can turn off my data, GPS locator, or the phone itself but I would like to be able to keep my phone with me and on at all times and have normal functionality.
3. Keep internet and data off.
Some of the spy apps (parental apps) are supposed to gather gps data even when there are no connections to the internet, and report that information once an internet connection is made. However that is questionable as to whether it works if you have read any of the reviews on this site.
Each time you pull down the status bar, "LOCATION" icon was in your face, reminding your target that their location was being reported.
What I REALLY wanted was an app that disabled the LOCATION button/icon on the status bar, so that it appeared OFF but was always on. No such app existed.
So in playing with one of the new Samsung phones, I discovered that I could press and drag the various icons that appeared on the first tier of the status bar. In other words, I could move the LOCATION icon off of the main drop down.
Does having GPS setting set to "On" drain battery life:
From the web and "where's my droid" (http://wheresmydroid.com/support-faq.html):
Q: But doesn't leaving GPS on drain my devices battery power?
A: No, a lot of people think that leaving the “Use GPS” and “WiFi Location” boxes unchecked will result in better battery life. This is not true and here is why.
The "Use Wireless Networks" and "Use GPS Satellites" are permission settings. These settings ONLY allow/disallow applications to use wireless networks and/or GPS to get the device location. These settings do not turn on or off any hardware, therefore is does not save your phone’s battery to have them enabled. Applications turn on/off the GPS when they are using it, and you can tell when this is happening because a GPS icon will appear by the clock. So leaving "Use Wireless Networks" and "Use GPS Satellites" on does not affect battery life, it just gives permission for apps to get your location. If you are experiencing power drain when GPS is enabled you may have an app that is running in the background using the GPS. You should find that app and change its settings or remove it so it stops using GPS.
Kids are in tune with their smartphone batteries and they will argue that your "big brother" tracking of them is eating their battery. Although it is true that GPS itself might take up more batter power, just leaving "location services" activated in the battery-saving mode will eliminate any noticeable drain on battery life.
However, it means that you won't be able to locate them with a few meters. You must weigh out what is important to you and what you really want to accomplish by monitoring their movements.
In my case, I want to be able to see when they go more than a half hour from their house. So using mobile/wifi tracking is just fine. My goal is to keep up with their general movements and not go for the exact. Plus, I know they are inside 85% of the day and GPS won't help – but it will keep trying to find a satellite and that eats battery life.
Parents — you have to plan what you hope to accomplish and then make the rules clear. If location services is turned off, the phone stays in your purse for the next three days — even if it is their weekend. The second time they do it, you will hold it a week. The third time — a month. Then stick to the rules.
[PS: Shhhhhhhhhh. If you install Cerberus and convert it to a “System App”, it can turn on GPS for its use even if GPS is set to “off”. It can’t turn on LOCATION services if LOCATION is set to off. But don’t tell.]