Survey123 uses location services in background - drains battery fast!

03-11-2019 04:55 PM
Occasional Contributor

When Survey123 (version 3.3.26) on iOS asks permission to use Location Services, I select the 'while using the app' option.

If I check iOS' location services settings, it shows that Survey123 is configured to use location services while using the app and not 'always' or 'never'.

Nevertheless, any time after launching Survey123, it uses location services continuously, whether Survey123 is running on screen or even when it is in the background (and even if the device is idle - I think) and drains the battery very fast.  This is occurring for a number of our users and is causing serious problems here.

Is this a known problem?  Are there any known fixes or work arounds other than killing Survey123 when not in use (or disabling location services when not in use)?

We do not have this problem on our older iOS devices which can only run version 2.8.2 of Survey123, and we only started having this problem on our newer devices recently.  I think it may be related to the recent update of Survey123.

Even if this was working properly, it should not drain the battery this fast.  Does Survey123 allow deferred location updates?  This dramatically increases battery life in the location-aware apps that I've written.  (see:  allowDeferredLocationUpdatesUntilTraveled:timeout: - CLLocationManager | Apple Developer Documentati...  )

(also see:  locationManager:didUpdateLocations: - CLLocationManagerDelegate | Apple Developer Documentation  - the old way doesn't work with deferred location updates).

18 Replies
Occasional Contributor III

Our Apple devices are also having this issue.

~ Following

MVP Honored Contributor

Bump.  We are having lots of users asking us why the GPS is on the entire time the app is open.  Even with no form open.  Our forms are long and can be open for hours.  With continuous GPS access the battery is going fast.  They are asking to open, then turn off the location but I do not love this idea.

Also we are seeing android is constantly complaining the 123 leaves the GPS on even when it is in the background and it asks to close it.  Which caused some users to lose data.  Collector does not see to have this issue.

It is really hurting the number of hours the battery will last.


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MVP Honored Contributor

Still seeing warning messages from Android that the GPS is always on, even when the app is in the background.  iOS gives no warning but it is draining also.

Not seeing this on Collector so there must be some way to fix this.  I even set the app to Only use Location while using the App and it still gives this warning.

In addition We have forms that take hours to complete.  This means the GPS is running all day long, which drains the battery fast.

Could we maybe have a button to turn the GPS on/off at least?  Like make the button that is there now a toggle or something, then a long press for options.  We could save hours of use that way.

Thanks for looking

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New Contributor

We are experiencing the same problem. Is there any news about this issue?


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New Contributor

We are having the same issue. Our users don’t want to use the Survey123 app because it’s draining their phone/tablet batteries. We don’t have to fully close Collector for location services to stop, so why do we for Survey123?

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MVP Honored Contributor

Trying a bump again since it has been 2 years now.  We have forms that take hours to complete and this is draining a lot of battery.

Maybe a quick way to turn off the GPS for the rest of the form?  Like just tap the icon and it shuts off for the rest of the form.  

This is getting asked for Field Maps also now

Please consider.  Hate to bug you by tagging you but we keep running out of battery on site and its hard for us to carry chargers and such since a lot of it is hiking.

Thank you!

@JamesTedrick @IsmaelChivite @Anonymous User 

New Contributor II

Using IPhone SE, iOS v15.1, Survey123 v3.13.234.

I have also noticed this issue, and am just about to roll out a survey which will require people to use it multiple times a day. If they don't kill Survey123 between uses, I expect most of them to have flat batteries by the end of the day. It uses about 60% of my battery in a day, when I don't touch the phone at all after opening Survey123.

This could be a potential safety hazard as the devices can be used used for communicating location and status.

New Contributor III

We are also seeing this issue with android phones, android tablets, and iPhones. Battery is being destroyed far too quickly.

Occasional Contributor II

I am experiencing the same problem and the users of our organization complains and does not want to use Survey123 because it drains the battery. 

When you give the app permissions to use locations services when in use, you expect it to quit using the GPS when in background. But Survey123 does not do that.

Why not add a feature to let the user turn off the GPS- when in background? Or when giving permissions choose between: Always / When in use and let  when in use be when the app is active?

We are using iOS.