How much Data Does a GPS Tracker Use?

GPS trackers are considered a blessing now. Almost everyone who drives through a city and has a smart device uses a GPS tracker to learn about traffic, to navigate through directions, and to find their coordinates on the map. However, those who are concerned about their mobile data limit while using a GPS tracker should learn how much data does a GPS tracker use to make sure they don’t run out of their data limit.

Factors Affecting Data Usage

In general, the amount of data used by a GPS tracker on a mobile device depends on a lot of factors, which include the frequency of use, the device you have, the information you want, and the resolution of the result on your mobile device.

As it is not often clear how much data it uses, many people run into problems with their mobile data limit, especially those who use GPS tracker daily to learn about traffic conditions and to navigate. In addition, the map app you are using on your device also affects the data usage.

Other factors also include zooming map in and out, the number of searches on the map, and using street view and its resolution. If you are using your map directions on a high-resolution map app every time you get out, it may consume your mobile data very quickly. That is why it is essential to learn about how much data does a GPS tracker use, and if it fits under your monthly data limit.

Some people download maps to their device to save cellular data, but in that case, you miss options like live traffic, restaurants and other recommendations, speed trap warnings, business hours, and other useful information. However, it all depends on your monthly plan and how much data you want to consume with GPS tracker.

How Much Data Does a GPS Tracker Use?

As noted earlier, there is no simple or standard answer to this question as it depends on the map app you are using on your mobile device. Nevertheless, let us give some general answers.

One answer to this question is zero data because some apps do not use any data as they download and update the map every time your device connects to external Wi-Fi. Hence, you can still navigate while driving using the map as all the data are already downloaded. An example of such apps is the Locus Map Pro.

On the other hand, if you are using a high-end advanced map app, the data consumption could become a headache if you have a limited mobile data plan.

As the data usage depends on many factors, the only way you can get an idea about the data consumed by the GPS tracker is to learn about how it works.

Data Consumption of Different GPS Tools

First, the highest amount of data consumed by a GPS tracker is when it downloads a map. Unfortunately, map apps do this very often to make sure the device has the latest map with all the new changes to locations, buildings, new stores, etc.

Nevertheless, some apps allow you to update or download map only with a Wi-Fi connection that saves a lot of data. Others give you an option to choose between only Wi-Fi updates or to update it whenever the new map is available. By choosing the Wi-Fi only, you can stop the app from downloading maps using the cellular data. Instead, the app will wait for the Wi-Fi connection and will only download the map when it is connected to a Wi-Fi.

Sadly, some map apps don’t have such option, so you can’t really stop these apps to download updates using cellular data.

Apart from downloading updates, listed below are few estimates of data consumption by some of the common tasks performed by a GPS tracker.

  • The connection data to your map app with daily live tracking: Less than five MB a day.
  • Viewing map in a standard view, searching, zooming the map in and out, and moving map around: Around five to fifteen MB for around 10 km of the map view.
  • Viewing map in high-resolution view, often termed as satellite view or hybrid view on most map apps: Approximately from 50 to 150 MB for a circuit of 10 km.

So, it is not possible to answer this question with one simple answer but it is possible for you to learn about your cellular data consumption on your own device.

Checking the GPS Tracker Data Consumption

iOS Devices

If you want to learn about the data used by GPS tracker on your Apple device, follow the listed steps.

  • Turn your device on.
  • Go to Settings > Mobile Data
  • Now scroll down to the option, “Use Mobile Data For” where you can find your map app listed below this message.
  • Turn it on if not yet turned on.

This will enable the Map to use cellular data. Now when you go back to the Settings and Mobile Data, you can see the actual data consumed in MB under the name of your map app.

Android Devices

It is simpler to find out the data consumption on an Android device. For this, you can simply go to Settings > Data Usage.

Here, you can find a list of apps that use cellular data. Hence, you can find the map app you are using in the list and can see the data used. You can also switch between the Wi-Fi and Mobile tabs to see how much data is used on Wi-Fi and how much through cellular data.

The Conclusion

As mentioned before, it is impossible to answer the question, “How much data does a GPS tracker use?” but you can learn about it on your mobile data usage information.

Nonetheless, it is recommended to have at least 1GB of mobile data package if you use a GPS tracker daily and use a high-end map app with a high resolution. If you are using data package of less than that, be vigilant while using a GPS tracker.

It is recommended that you close the map app when you are not tracking, use the standard view instead of high-resolution view, and load the map data using the Wi-Fi. These tips can significantly reduce the cellular data consumption by GPS tracker.

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