Pokemon Go has become an overnight sensation, and it’s not at all hard to see why, but there are two major setbacks that everyone needs to deal with when becoming addicted to Niantic’s latest title: huge data consumption and battery drains.
Fortunately, there’s a way to address them both, and it all comes down to how Pokemon Go is built.
No matter if you are running Pokemon Go on an Android or iOS device, the game runs on the Google Maps API, so in order to locate you on the map, it uses your cell phone GPS signal and downloads data from Google’s services.
With the screen on, this translates to significant battery loss, as the three main battery hogs (the screen, the GPS module, and the modem) are used at full power. This is actually one of the reasons the phone could get hot while playing Pokemon Go, as the cooling system kicks in but can’t stay on for a long period of time.
How to cut battery and data consumption
But if you want to reduce data and battery usage, all you have to do is download the offline maps for your city in Google Maps. Once the map data is on your phone, Pokemon Go no longer needs to connect to Google and download a big amount of data, but to only look locally and get the bits it needs – this also leads to better in-game performance because everything is loaded faster.
Because it uses the Google Maps API, Pokemon Go shares the same local maps location as Google Maps, so it’ll first search locally to see if any data is available. And if it is, you’re in for a big surprise.
We’ve seen reports of data usage cuts by up to 35 percent, with battery life improvements reaching 10 percent. And while we can’t guarantee that you’d reach these figures too, a noticeable improvement is very likely anyway.
To download offline maps in Google Maps on Android, here’s what you need to do:
Launch Google Maps > Go to Settings > Tap “Offline Maps” > Tap the “+” sign > Select your area and wait.
For iOS users, steps are very similar:
Launch Google Maps > Tap the hamburger menu > Offline areas > Tap the “+” sign > Download this area
Downloaded offline maps need to be updated every 30 days because the included imagery expires – this can be done from Google Maps every time you need it. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi when downloading offline mapping data because the packages usually exceed 200 MB.
Pokemon Go also comes with a low battery mode that should help you reduce battery usage, but there are reports that this isn’t working correctly for all users. This should basically turn off the screen and allow you to carry the phone in your pocket, with a short vibration trigger automatically whenever your input is necessary.
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