How To Change Location on Android Easily and Safely

Whether you're looking for more privacy or unblocking geographically-locked streaming, there are a few simple ways to change the location on your Android devices.
We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

There are multiple benefits to changing the current location on your Android device. It may boost your privacy, protect your data, and give access to regional content on streaming services.

There are a few ways for Android users to change location. You could alter your phone settings, change app permissions, or use a virtual private network (VPN). The best option depends on your needs, so let's dive into how to change your location on Android with each of these strategies.

In this article
How to use a VPN on Android
How to turn location settings on and off
How to choose which apps use your location
How to adjust location accuracy
Is GPS spoofing safe?
How location works on your Android
Android location FAQs
Bottom line

How to use a VPN on Android

You can use a VPN to change your Android location. A VPN is the most effective way to unlock regional content streaming services. VPN providers can help mask your real location, making your Android appear in a different U.S. state or country. It does this by connecting to servers in different regions of the world.

VPNs are also a great option for people looking to create an encrypted tunnel to protect their online activities.

Follow these steps to use a VPN with Android:

1. Select a VPN app from the Google Play Store. Some of our recommendations for the best VPNs on Android include NordVPN and Private Internet Access.

2. Once you select a VPN service, tap Install to download the app.

3. Follow the app's prompts to set up the VPN on Android.

4. Select a server to connect to it.

Once connected, your VPN will hide your geographic location and IP address and use the connected server instead.

Need a VPN on a budget? Check out the best free VPNs for Android to get you started.

How to turn location settings on and off

Besides a VPN, your Android also contains settings to turn location on and off. This is a great option if you are looking to block all apps and settings from using your location data. Here are the instructions to view if the location is on or not on an Android 12 and up:

1. Swipe down from the top of your phone to view Quick Settings.

2. Touch the Location button to turn it on or off. (It's active if it's blue and gray when turned off.)

3. You'll see a warning about the consequences of turning off the location. Select Close to accept or Turn on Location to deny.

If you don't see the Location icon in Quick Settings, consider adding it for easier access. Here are the instructions for adding Location to Quick Settings:

1. Swipe down from the top of your phone to view Quick Settings.

2. Select the three vertical lines in the upper right corner.

3. Tap the Edit buttons.

4. Move the Location button to the bottom half of the screen to add it to Quick Settings.

5. Choose Done to confirm.

While it does give you an extra layer of privacy from apps, turning off location on your Android can have some undesirable outcomes. Here are some features which won't work with location off:

  • Apps that use location
  • Find My Device to recover a lost phone
  • Emergency alerts, including earthquakes
  • Location history
  • Auto time zone change

How to choose which apps use your location

Sometimes, you may want something more personalized than simply turning off your device location or using a VPN to disguise your location.

One option is to alter an individual app's permissions to block them from using your Android's location. Here is how to adjust these settings:

1. Go to Settings.

2. Tap Apps.

3. Select the app you want to change.

4. Choose Permissions to display what the app has permission to use on your Android.

5. To change the location permission setting, select Location and choose what permission is acceptable to you.

How to adjust location accuracy

Having location turned on is useful for app functionality and other phone settings. But you'll need location accuracy to ensure you get the best results.

Google Location Accuracy lets your Android use multiple sources to determine location. Your phone uses GPS, Wi-Fi networks, mobile networks, and sensors in this setting to pinpoint your Android's location. Without it, your Android may struggle to quickly and correctly determine your location.

Here is how to turn on Google Location Accuracy on your Android:

1. Swipe down from the top of your phone to view Quick Settings.

2. Touch and hold down the Location button until a new menu opens.

3. Select Location services.

4. Tap Google Location Accuracy.

5. Toggle the Improve Location Accuracy on or off.

Is GPS spoofing safe?

You may have also heard about GPS spoofing to change location on Android. It’s popular among certain crowds of Pokémon GO players. While it could technically work, it's not recommended due to security risks. GPS spoofing apps are often misleading and cause issues.

For example, the Fake GPS location app.

While it says it can convince your GPS it's in a different geographical location, the fine print is a little concerning.

If you uninstall the app, it could lock your GPS location to the last fake location. To fix it, you'll need to download another app, which could take a couple of days to repair.

There are more reliable ways to spoof your location, including a VPN or adjusting app permissions to block your location.

How location works on your Android

Android’s Location services control how the operating system uses your location data. Location can be crucial for app functionality, Google Maps, and other phone settings.

Location services cover:

  • Earthquake alerts
  • Emergency Location Service
  • Google Location Accuracy
  • Google Location History
  • Google Location Sharing

You can improve accuracy by turning on these settings under Location services:

  • Wi-Fi scanning: Uses Wi-Fi for location detection even if the Wi-Fi is turned off
  • Bluetooth scanning: Lets apps use Bluetooth for location detection even if Bluetooth is turned off

You may want to turn off location data for privacy reasons and stop Android from tracking your location. But this may cause several issues.

One significant risk is not being able to use the Find My Device to locate a lost Android. If the location is turned off, the service will not be able to find your phone. There are also other potential problems like location-based apps not functioning properly. This is a particular issue for maps or other navigational apps.

If privacy is your main concern, you may have better results with a reliable VPN. This won't affect any app's ability to function properly, but it will block third parties from tracking your data. A VPN can hide your geographical location and mask your IP address to ensure privacy.

Alternatively, you can customize app permissions. When you download an app, you might approve all app permissions without a second thought. If you want to change these permissions, you can view and edit them in your Android settings menu.

Android location FAQs


+

How do I change my VPN location on Android?

Changing your VPN location on Android depends on your provider. Generally speaking, you'll want to find the servers list within the VPN app and connect to your chosen server. It's fairly easy to change your VPN location, and it's a hassle-free way to mask your current location without compromising your security or app functionality.


+

Can I change my Android phone’s location without a VPN?

No, you can't safely change your Android location without a VPN. GPS spoofing is unreliable, misleading, and may be unsafe. If you don't want to use a VPN, you could also alter your location permissions for individual apps or turn off your location entirely. The safest way to change your Android location is to use a VPN.


+

Why is my location wrong on my Android phone?

Your location could be wrong on your Android because Google Location Accuracy is turned off. Without it, your Android is limited in what sources it can use to provide an accurate location. Turning on Google Location Accuracy allows Android to use GPS signals, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and sensors to find your location.

If your location is still inaccurate, you may consider turning on high-accuracy mode. Open the Settings app, and then select Location. After switching the location on, tap Mode. Choose High accuracy to turn it on.

Bottom line

Understanding how to change your Android device location can help you gain control of your privacy without compromising security. If you don't want Android apps to access your location, then you can easily change it in permissions or settings.

If you want to hide your geographical location, use a VPN to appear in a different regional area and hide your IP address. VPNs are a reliable way to change your location and provide additional security to your data.

Are you looking for information on changing your iPhone location? Check out our guide on changing your location on your iOS device or Netflix.

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

Author Details
Sara J. Nguyen is a freelance writer specializing in cybersecurity. She aims to help people protect their data while enjoying technology. She has written about online privacy and tech for over 5 years for several organizations. When she's not writing about the latest cybersecurity trends, you can find her on LinkedIn.