How To Find Your GPS Coordinates on an Android Device
Smartphones are remarkable devices with some incredible features that many people don’t use, and many features they’ve not yet learned about. One of those amazing features is the existence of the global positioning system (GPS) that enables your cell phone to know your location coordinates at all times.
There are a number of ways to find your GPS location on your Android device. Unlike the iPhone, the Android system doesn’t have a default, built-in GPS coordinate utility that shows you the information the phone already has. You have to find an Android app that can provide this functionality.
Here, you’ll discover a few of the best methods to identify the GPS coordinates of your location using your Android phone, quickly and with ease.
Knowing Your GPS Coordinates
Whether you want to share it with a friend for an exact meeting location (especially helpful for hikers and outdoor activities) or you’re just interested in it, there are a few ways to pull your coordinates using your Android device.
Android 10 – Built-in Compass
Android 10 gave us a built-in compass on most devices (of course this depends on your manufacturer too). If you’ve allowed the compass feature the proper location permissions required, it will not only give you directions, but it will also tell you the exact longitude and latitude of your phone’s current location.
To access this we’ll be using a Samsung Galaxy, but the instructions should work for most Android devices.
To begin, open your app drawer and type “Compass” in the search bar (unless you’re using a Samsung, then pull from the side of the screen to access your edge panel). If your phone comes equipped with a native compass, it will show up here.
Next, depending on the compass app that your phone takes you to, you should see the GPS coordinates on the home screen. If not, you may have to click around the app to find them.
Because most Android phones have a built-in Magnetometer, it is likely that you can download a third-party Compass app to do this if one does not appear in your app drawer.
Use Google Maps to Track Your Location
Google Maps is the premier GPS of the Android map world because it is a powerful application that offers so much functionality in one single app. The majority of Android smartphones come with Google Maps pre-installed, but if yours doesn’t have it, then download Google Maps in the Google Play store.
Once installed, you need to open the Google Maps app and make sure that you have turned on the “Location” finding feature on your pull-down menu. Your Android smartphone has its own Locations settings (go to your Settings app and search for “Location” to access these settings) and Google Maps relies on your phone’s settings to know where you are, so you may need to change your settings for Google Maps to work properly.
After your location settings are correctly configured, you can find your location.
- Tap “My Location” (the bulls-eye target icon). This should center the map on your phone’s current location
- Press and hold your finger on your current location that appears for more details
- The GPS coordinates of your position will appear followed by the address
Once your location has been found, you can share it with others if you need to. It’s super simple and that’s all there is to it.
Other Apps to Get Your GPS Location/Coordinates
The easy availability and reliability of Google Maps on Android devices mean that it really is the best way to go, but if you prefer a non-Google approach, there are a few other GPS apps out there to try.
Option #1: Try GPS Status and Toolbox
Another app to find your GPS coordinates on an Android device is the comprehensive GPS Status and Toolbox app. Marketing itself as a more serious competitor to the majority of mapping applications, this tool offers a toolbox of features for those who want more detailed location information.
Core Features in the Basic Version of the GPS Status and Toolbox App:
- The position and the strength of the signals from GPS satellites
- The accuracy of the location readings
- Details about your current location, including altitude
- Magnetic and True North
- Limited waypoints to mark and share your location
- A radar feature enabling you to navigate back to waypoint markers, which you could use to mark where you parked your car or your route on a hike or other adventures
While for many users the features that the GPS Status and Toolbox offers would be overkill, it is useful for sharing absolutely exact coordinates when needed, especially if you upgrade to the Pro version. Hikers may find the waypoint feature especially useful, allowing you to find your way back from where you came when in difficult terrain.
Core Features in the Pro Version of the GPS Status and Toolbox App:
- Unlimited waypoints
- Pressure, rotation, temperature, and humidity readings if your Android device supports these sensors
- Background Assisted or Augmented GPS (AGPS) downloading, meaning data can be pre-loaded so that it will display for you without delays
- No ads in the app
- Widgets availability
Option #2: Map Coordinates Application for Android
This app is primarily designed to share your location with others, and it is easy to use. You can share your location via short message service (SMS), email, or social messaging. The Map Coordinates app offers:
- Degrees, Minutes and Seconds GPS standard displayed as DDD° MM’ SS.S
- Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) displayed as Grid Zone Designation, 100,000 meter Square ID, East-West position within the grid, North-South position within the grid (paid option only)
- Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system (paid option only)
- World Geographic Reference System (GEOREF) (paid option only)
- What3words, displayed as word1.word2.word3 to obtain exact locations within 3-meter blocks
You can certainly rely on Map Coordinates to give you an accurate reading as it’s map providers are Google Maps or Open Street Maps. A handy compass is also included to use if you decide to use the stars to guide you.
Map Coordinates could do with a few more features to make it come alive but that’s as far as the complaints go. It’s a solid, if not outstanding way to find your GPS coordinates on an Android device.
In this article, you’ve learned about the features and benefits of a few apps for finding your GPS coordinates using your Android phone. If you enjoyed this article you might also like How To Get Detailed GPS Information On Your Android Device With GPS Status, which goes into a bit more detail about the GPS Status and Toolbox app discussed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I used Android Device Manager to find the GPS coordinates of my phone?
Absolutely! And, this is perfect if you’ve lost your phone in a body of water with low visibility, or somewhere in the wilderness where there isn’t a street you can reference.
When you open the Android Device Manager on a web browser, click on the green icon indicating the location of your phone. A new window will open with Google Maps including the GPS coordinates of your missing phone.
From this webpage, you can share the location or get directions. Just bear in mind, this will only work if your phone is on, your Google account has permission to access your location, and it’s getting some sort of internet signal.
How accurate is my GPS coordinates on my phone?
Although there is some debate on this, your coordinates should be fairly accurate assuming your Magnetometer is working properly. This is something you may need to calibrate periodically to ensure that it is giving you the most accurate results.
If you’re unsure of the accuracy and traveling somewhere it’s imperative that you have your exact GPS coordinates it is recommended that you carry a device built for this rather than relying on a smartphone.