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Does offline navigation use LESS battery power than online navigation?

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Andy Burnelli

Nov 23, 2022, 6:28:07 PM11/23/22
Does offline navigation use LESS battery power than online navigation?

In another thread today, Andy & Steve and Bodger were discussing how GPS
navigation uses more battery power - particularly meaningful for iPhones as
Steve noted - because of their puny batteries - which it does - but why?


a. The GPS receiver itself (of course) is a (well-known) battery hog
b. But what about the cellular data radio (when used for online routing)?

Me? I generally navigate using offline navigation applications.
But I became good at offline routing for privacy (not power) reasons.

The offline navigation choices are about the same for either iOS or Android
where there are usually the same free apps which route off trail on both.

In a vehicle, power draw isn't usually an issue; but when backcountry
hiking, power draw is critical, where I usually navigate using free USGS
topographic maps inside offline programs (e.g., Avenza or PaperMaps).

Hence, when I'm navigating, the cellular data radio is usually turned off.
Which brings up the question, the answer to which I'm not sure of.

Does navigating with the cellular data radio turned off use LESS battery
power (than the same navigation, but with the cellular data being used)?

Jeff Liebermann

Nov 23, 2022, 11:17:21 PM11/23/22
On Wed, 23 Nov 2022 23:28:15 +0000, Andy Burnelli <>
"Do GPS Tracking Apps Drain Mobile Battery?"
"Under a good signal strength, GPS apps will shorten the battery’s
life less - by 13%. If your remote workers are in an area with weak
signal strength, the battery can deplete up to 38%."

The actual drain will vary with just about everything involved in
obtaining a position. If the software detects that the position
hasn't changed, the update rate will decrease, reducing the power
drain. If you turn off the GPS and radically move your position, the
GPS will burn quite a bit of power trying to update your position. If
your mapping app is interested in near real-time updates, such as
sports performance apps, the update rate will be very high as will the
power drain. Different GPS chipsets draw different amounts of power.
Anyway, there are more variables in this puzzle to produce an easy

Why not just get a "battery bank" and run your phone of the bank or
use it to charge the phone battery? A big Android phone battery is
about 5,000 ma-hrs. Typical battery bank, stuffed four 18650 cells,
will optimistically have a capacity of 10,000 ma-hrs, which triples
your operating time. Plus, you can carry spare battery banks. I have
a few that I keep in my car, just in case I forget to charge my

Jeff Liebermann
PO Box 272
Ben Lomond CA 95005-0272
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
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