The iPhone includes powerful GPS and location features, but they can drain your iPhone battery (and sacrifice your privacy) if you don't know how to manage them. Here's how to manage iPhone GPS.
There are a number of apps that we expect to use the iPhone's GPS and location features, such as turn-by-turn navigation programs, map apps, and goods & services finders. But you may be surprised to see how many other types of apps scoop up your GPS or WiFi location data.
Multiple apps that you may not care about, or only need on demand, yet are tapping into your location data can quickly drain your iPhone battery and give away personal data you may not want to share. App developers are supposed to minimize GPS access to prolong battery life, but I have reviewed some apps that leave GPS on unless the user manually quits the program - another battery-hogging problem.
Taking control of your iPhone's GPS and location data begins with your iPhone settings (tap the "Settings" icon). Next, tap on "Location Services" in the first group of settings. At the top of this screen (see photo), you'll see a toggle switch for "Location Services". This is the master switch for GPS and WiFi positioning across all apps on your iPhone. I recommend that you leave this switch in the "on" position. You're better off controlling location data on an app-by-app basis, rather than turning everything off.
If you're like most iPhone users, below the master switch you'll see a long list of apps, many of which don't really need your location data. Simply go down the list and toggle to "off" any apps that you don't want to access your location. You can always turn them back on later if needed.
Now that you've taken control of Location Services, there is another step available to you to clear apps that are needlessly keeping your GPS active. If you are finished using an app's location services, but notice that the GPS indicator icon (a small, right-facing arrow) is still active in the upper right of your iPhone screen, you can force the app to quit in order to turn off its GPS access. Simply double-press the home button, and a row of active app icons will appear in scrollable form across the bottom of the screen. Sustain a touch on any app icon, and the full set of app icons will wiggle and gain a minus-sign tag. Simply touch the minus sign tag to force-quit the app. This will also terminate the app's GPS access.
iPhone app makers are required to ask your permission to use location services when you install a new app. Make a habit of giving this a little thought before consenting.
Enjoy your new-found mastery of your iPhone's GPS and location services, and longer battery life.