Posterous dies on 4/30/2013 so I've moved all my content and switched to Blogger.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Automatically Enable GPS on App Launch in ROOTED Android 4.1+

I believe Android 2.3 introduced the Location Settings rule that won't let apps auto enable GPS Location Services on launch.  I HATE THIS!

I leave my GPS off when I'm not using it to conserve battery, so when I'm driving and I launch Maps or Navigation I have to look away from the road and click "Enable" when prompted, then tick the GPS satellites checkbox, then press the back button.  Ughhh!  Curse you, Google!!  I'd gladly allow you to auto-enable GPS when I launch Maps.  WTF?!?!?!

Do you hate this as much as me?  Well allow me to teach you how to get around this and auto enable GPS on app launch.  This will only work if you have a ROOTED 4.1+ device.

You need two apps to make this work:  Tasker ($2.99 on the Play Store) and Secure Settings Pro (download the free app from Play Store and then in-app purchase to Pro version for $1.50).  And if you haven't messed with Tasker and Secure Settings before, this can be a major pain in the ass for a noob.  I spent an hour or two searching Google and piecing together info from many other posts (some of them outdated), so I figured I'd share the knowledge and save you the time of rediscovering it.

Just follow these instructions and you'll get automatic enabling of GPS when you open Maps, Navigation, or any other app you include in your GPS On - Tasker Profile.
  1. Install Tasker from Play Store
  2. Install Secure Settings from Play Store
  3. Open Secure Settings and Upgrade to Pro in-app.  When you've upgraded to Pro the screen will look like this.
  4. Tick Helper Tab in Secrure Settings and enable the Helper Alternative [4.1+]

    Tick OK

    When enabled your screen will look like this

    IMPORTANT:  Whenever I'm about to dirty flash a new nightly of my favorite ROM (CarbonRom, of course), I revert the Helper Alternative setting before rebooting to recovery.  Then after I flash and boot the new nightly I go to Secure Settings and re-enable it.  I'm not sure what would happen if I ever forgot to do this, but I don't want to find out.
  5. Now open Tasker
  6. Click + to add a profile
  7. Choose Application
  8. Tick on each application you want to allow to auto-enable GPS on launch (on my phone I chose Maps, Navigation, Garmin Fit, GPS Status, and Car Home Ultra)
  9. When finished selecting your apps, press the "Back" button (the Tasker icon next to "App Selection" in the upper left corner)
  10. Now press + to add new task and name it something like "GPS On"
  11. Next press + to add an Action and then select "Plugin" in Select Action Category
  12. Now select "Secure Settings"
  13. Next click Configuration "Edit" button and scroll down and pick GPS
  14. Make sure "On" is radioed and press Save in the upper right
  15. Lastly, tick the "If" checkbox to the right, and make the open text entry say "%GPS ~ off"
  16. Press the "Back" button (the Tasker icon next to "Action Edit" in the upper left corner)
  17. Press the "Back" button (the Tasker icon next to "Task Edit" in the upper left corner)
  18. Your profile has been created.  Make sure that it's ON
  19. You may want to disable Tasker from running in foreground (this will take the annoying Tasker message out of you Notifications.  To do this, go to Tasker Preferences>Monitor and uncheck "Run in Foreground").
  20. Time to test it!  Go to Settings>Location and make sure GPS is off.
  21. Go to App Drawer and launch Maps.  YAY! I pressed the My Location icon in the lower right and GPS was already automatically enabled by my Tasker Profile.
  22. Reboot device and test again to make sure your Tasker Profile runs automatically.
There you have it.  For $4.50 you've twarted Google's Location Policy.


  1. One thing I added, when you exit the app it unchecks GPS in the settings screen. I noticed after setting up my tasker profile, per above instructions, when I exited the app GPS remained checked in the settings. So adding an off option when exiting the app unchecked the GPS setting.

    1. Good addition. I had it set up that way, but I reverted in case I had two apps running that depended on GPS.

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