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I actually find it might be better for me to have this off, because sometimes my character wanders to places that are not even close to me so I can quickly catch a pokemon or spin a stop.

Does anyone actually recommend using wifi scanning, and is it helpful for actually making sure you are in the location you are or is it not that useful and takes up battery? Would it also technically take up more data?

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  • Both wifi and Bluetooth scanning will use location services so the game will have less time to use the service. That just means that there's fewer "where am I?" pings when those other services are on. As a result when you do location drift, you should spend longer in the bogus location if scanning is on because it'll take longer for the game to realize you're not where you think it is. So fewer but longer drifts. I don't know how to prove it out tho. Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 18:22
  • Interesting! Would you personally turn them off to get more frequent location drifts in that case?
    – ShangWang
    Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 20:51
  • I live in a city with lots of skyscrapers -- I get lots of drift naturally because the signals bounce a lot. Once I drifted a half mile! I usually leave both wifi and bluetooth on. All things considered, I'd prefer longer at the drifted location so that I have time to do stuff like fight in gyms or raids. Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 20:56
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    @ShangWang With both turned on it will increase battery consumption, but data usage is through the mobile network which these both avoid doing.
    – l3l_aze
    Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 22:37
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    Not sure about that, as I've never monitored data usage because I'm not off WiFi long except at work PT. Map data is cached as far as I know so in theory running for a short time should use less data than starting the game does, but it would likely depend on connection quality and max speed because retrying a failed network request multiple times can easily get expensive.
    – l3l_aze
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 7:36

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Does anyone actually recommend using wifi scanning, and is it helpful for actually making sure you are in the location you are

Yes, particularly if you play in a dense urban environment where satellites may not have direct line of sight to your device. As you've clearly noticed, GPS alone can sometimes be very unreliable (sometimes to your benefit), and Wi-Fi positioning will often "take over" in these cases and make sure that your position is at least roughly where you actually are, rather than teleporting all over the place.

Additionally, Wi-Fi positioning being enabled will dramatically decrease the likelihood of the game ever coming up with the dreaded red "Location not found" banner if GPS is failing entirely. In situations like this the Wi-Fi positioning will not typically be enough to actually track your movement and you'll end up locked in place until you go somewhere with stronger GPS, but you'll at least be able to spin and catch whatever is around you in that area.

If you play exclusively in suburban or rural areas, it's unlikely to be of any benefit.

or is it not that useful and takes up battery?

Wi-Fi positioning uses a completely negligible amount of battery (especially on Android 11+ phones, which can use it even with normal Wi-Fi features disabled).

Would it also technically take up more data?

Yes, but again a completely negligible amount. Communicating access point metadata to a WPS location API would require only a few hundred bytes. Pokemon Go would use more data every minute than wireless positioning would over the course of an entire day.

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