How to Fake a GPS Location on Your Phone

By: Nathan Chandler  | 

gps
Want your phone to show you in a different location than where you really are? A GPS spoofing app can make that happen. Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

The GPS capability of your smartphone is critical for location-based apps, like those meant for weather or mapping purposes. At times, though, that kind of tracking can start to feel inconvenient or even oppressive. Whether you're a teenager trying to hide from your parents or more seriously, someone with an abusive significant other who is obsessively keeping tabs on them, there are ways to trick the location tracking features on your device.

But you're going to need some outside help to do it. Regardless of whether you use an Android or iPhone, there isn't a simple one-button setting that will instantly alter your virtual location. You'll have to do a bit of digging to make your deception a reality.

The GPS chip in your phone is meant to be as accurate as possible, and, when it's turned on, it continually updates your position by relaying coordinates to your phone's operating system (OS). The OS then shares that data with apps that rely on location information. To get around that, you'll have to deceive those apps into accepting false GPS data.

In the Google Play store you'll find plenty of apps meant to enable GPS fakery for Android devices. We'll use Fake GPS Location – GPS Joystick as an example.

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Faking GPS Location on Android Smartphones

  1. Go to the Google's Play store, then download and install the app named Fake GPS Location – GPS Joystick.
  2. Launch the app and scroll down to the section titled Select an option to get started. Tap the Set Location option.
  3. Tap the Click here to open the map option. This lets you use a map to select the fake location where you want your phone to appear. The coordinates will appear on the Latitude, Longitude line in GPS Joystick.
  4. Tap Start. You'll see a Draw Permission Required dialog box, which prompts you to change a system setting. Tap Go to Settings.
  5. Tap Permit drawing over other apps, then tap to go back.
  6. Tap Start. You'll see a dialog box that prompts you to enable a mock location.
  7. In order to enable a mock location, you'll have to dig into your phone's settings. Tap Go to Settings, About, and find the Build Number (alternately, you can just search for the Build Number option from your phone's Settings menu). Tap rapidly on Build Number until you see a notification that shows you're entering Developer Mode. Dismiss any notifications about Developer Mode.
  8. In your phone's Settings, tap Developer Options, then tap Select mock location app. Tap GPS Joystick. (You can also search for Select mock location app.)
  9. In GPS Joystick, tap Start. You can open Google Maps or a similar app to see if your location is now updated. It may take a few moments for your faked location to appear on other people's phones.

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Faking GPS Location on iPhone

Faking the location of an iPhone requires more effort than with Android devices because you can't simply install an app. The easiest way is to use your computer, and keep in mind this only works with iPhones running iOS 12 or older operating systems.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer and install iTools on your computer. iTools includes a tool called Virtual Location that lets you alter your phone's location.
  2. Launch iTools and click the Virtual Location button.
  3. At the top of the map, type in the location you want to fake and press Enter.
  4. On a map, you'll see your GPS location move to the faked location. Click Move Here. You can click the map to change your location if you like.
  5. You can exit iTools and disconnect your iPhone from the computer. If the program prompts you to stop location simulation, be sure to select No.

Another option that will work with any operating system above iOS8 is Dr. Fone:

  1. First, download Dr. Fone - Virtual Location (iOS). Then install and launch the program.
  2. Click Virtual Location from all the options, and have your iPhone connected to your computer. Click Get Started.
  3. In the new window, you can find your actual location on your map. If the location is not accurately displayed, click the Center On icon in the lower right part to show the accurate location.
  4. Activate the "teleport mode" by clicking the corresponding icon (the 3rd one) in the upper right. Enter the place you want to teleport to in the upper left field, and click Go. Let's take Rome in Italy as an example.
  5. The system now understands your desired place is Rome. Click Move Here in the popup box.
  6. Your location is changed to Rome now. Whether you click the Center On icon or locate yourself on your iPhone, the location is fixed to Rome, Italy. And the location in your location-based app, is, of course, the same place.

If you just want to turn off your location information without trying to fool people into thinking you're someplace else, it's pretty easy. On iPhones, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Toggle the Location Services button from "On" to "Off" to turn off location information. For Android phones, go to Settings > Connections > Location. Toggle the Location button from "On" to "Off" to turn off location information. Note that some apps won't work properly if the location information is turned off.

Originally Published: Nov 25, 2019

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Fake GPS FAQ

Does fake GPS really work?
Fake GPS works and there are ways to deceive the location tracking features on your phone. In most cases, you can trick location-based apps on your phone into accepting false GPS data by faking a GPS location.
How do I set up a fake GPS location on Android?
First, download a fake GPS app, like “Fake GPS Location – GPS Joystick”. Open the app and tap the "Set Location" option. Now use the map to select a fake location where you want your phone to appear. Once you have selected a location, go into "Settings" to allow drawing over other apps. Next, find the "Build Number" option under "Settings" and tap on it multiple times until it activates the Developer Mode. In the “Developer Options” menu, navigate to “Debugging” and activate the “Allow Mock Locations” option.
How do you give someone your location from your iPhone?
Start with opening the "Find My" app on your iPhone and select the "People" tab. Select "Share My Location" and enter the name or phone number of the person you want to share your location with. Tap “Send". You can also choose from the options "One Hour", "Until End of Day", and "Share Indefinitely" to share your location with someone for as long as you want.
What is the best fake GPS app for iPhone?
Faking a GPS location on an iPhone is different than doing so on an Android device, so be sure to choose an app specific for your operating system. The best fake GPS app available for iPhone is “Fake GPS Location.”
How do I change my location on a fake GPS app?
In order to change your location using a fake GPS app, launch the app and tap on the "Set Location" option. When the map opens, select the location that you want your device to appear at.