How does the Travel Tracker work? Does it use GPS?

We came up with the Travel Tracker so that you can travel and track your trip easily, without having to open your phone all the time. We automatically track your route by leaving behind little breadcrumbs, which we call Travel Tracker steps. We do this without draining your battery. More about battery consumption can be found in this article: How much battery does the app use?.

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The different modes of Travel Tracker (Android only)

For Android users, we built in the following Travel Tracker modes:

1. Ultra light

Battery usage: very low

Accuracy: low

How we determine your location: Mostly your cellular signal & WiFi

When to use?

We advise travelers who visit very remote locations and have no means to charge their phone for days, to use this mode. It hardly uses any battery at all.

2. Balanced (Recommended)

Battery usage: low

Accuracy: medium

How we determine your location: Mostly your cellular signal & WiFi

When to use?

This is by far the most used mode. Use it for your hiking trips, road trips, backpacking trips, etc. When you know you'll have a power resource to charge your phone that day or the next, this is the mode you want.

3. High accuracy

Battery usage: very high

Accuracy: very high

How we determine your location: Mostly GPS

When to use?

If you want absolute mad details in your trip and you have the ability to charge your phone during the day, this mode is for you. 

How does the Travel Tracker work on iOS

On iOS devices, Polarsteps uses WiFi and cellular signals to determine your location. We do not actively use GPS on the iOS app, but we can receive GPS updates from the operating system itself if another app is using GPS on your phone. This means we depend on iOS to determine when and how many updates are received. This can vary due to multiple factors. For instance, how you're using your phone, the current battery level, and settings like Low Power Mode or Airplane Mode can all influence the frequency and quality of the location data we receive.

In the future, we plan to work on adding GPS (and with that the different Travel Tracker modes) for iOS App.

Pro Tip: If you have turn-by-turn navigation, such as Google Maps running in the background of your iOS device, then we're allowed to also use these GPS locations to track your route.

Temporarily disabling the Travel Tracker

There can be moments where you would like to disable the Travel Tracker for a while. Maybe out of privacy considerations or when you're in the same place for a longer period of time. To do this simply visit your trip settings and hit the Travel Tracker toggle.

Side note on the Travel Tracker: Polarsteps can't be used as a real-time tracker. Your location data isn't synchronized and updated in real-time since we don't want to drain your battery, as mentioned above. 

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