How Much Data Does A GPS Tracker Use

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GPS trackers have become incredibly popular for a variety of applications, from tracking vehicles and shipments to monitoring the whereabouts of loved ones. However, one common concern among users is how much data a GPS tracker consumes. Understanding the data usage of a GPS tracker is crucial, as it directly impacts the cost and performance of the device. Whether you’re using a GPS tracker for personal or business purposes, knowing the amount of data it consumes can help you make informed decisions when it comes to choosing a data plan or managing your data usage. In this article, we will delve into the factors that affect GPS tracker data usage and provide you with valuable insights to optimize your data consumption for an efficient and cost-effective tracking experience.

Inside This Article

  1. What Is a GPS Tracker?
  2. Factors Affecting Data Usage
  3. Typical Data Usage of GPS Trackers – Different Levels of Data Consumption for Various Activities – Examples of Typical Data Usage Scenarios
  4. Tips for Managing Data Usage
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQs

What Is a GPS Tracker?

A GPS tracker, or Global Positioning System tracker, is a device that utilizes satellite signals to determine the precise location of a person, vehicle, or object in real-time. It allows users to track the movement and monitor the position of the target to ensure security, safety, or for logistical purposes. GPS trackers have gained popularity in various fields, including vehicle tracking, asset tracking, pet tracking, and personal safety.

The main function of a GPS tracker is to accurately pinpoint the coordinates of a target using satellite signals. These signals are received by the GPS receiver within the tracker, which then calculates the latitude, longitude, and altitude of the target. This data is then transmitted to a central server or a user’s mobile device through wireless networks such as cellular or satellite connections.

There are several types of GPS trackers available in the market, each designed for specific applications:

  1. Personal GPS Trackers: These small, portable trackers are commonly used for tracking individuals, such as children, elderly people, or athletes. They are often worn as wristbands or carried in pockets and provide real-time location updates to the user or a designated contact.
  2. Vehicle GPS Trackers: Designed for monitoring and securing vehicles, these trackers are typically installed discreetly inside the vehicle. They allow vehicle owners, fleet managers, and law enforcement agencies to track the vehicle’s location, speed, and other relevant data.
  3. Asset GPS Trackers: These trackers are used to monitor the location and movement of valuable assets, such as high-value equipment, containers, or shipments. They are often ruggedized and equipped with long-lasting batteries to withstand harsh conditions.
  4. Pet GPS Trackers: Pet owners can attach these trackers to their pets’ collars or use specialized pet tracking devices to keep tabs on their furry friends. They provide real-time location updates and can assist in finding lost or runaway pets.
  5. Sports GPS Trackers: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use these trackers to monitor their performance, track routes, and analyze training data. They can provide information such as distance covered, speed, and heart rate during physical activities.

Factors Affecting Data Usage

When it comes to GPS trackers, the amount of data they use can vary depending on several factors. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors that can affect data usage:

GPS tracking method: The GPS tracking method used by the device can impact its data usage. There are typically two main methods used: continuous tracking and interval-based tracking. Continuous tracking, as the name implies, sends data continuously, resulting in higher data usage. On the other hand, interval-based tracking collects data at specific intervals, reducing the overall data usage.

Frequency of data updates: The frequency at which the GPS tracker updates its data can also impact data usage. Trackers that provide real-time updates will consume more data compared to those that update at longer intervals. If you need precise location information frequently, it will result in higher data consumption.

Size and format of data transmitted: The size and format of the data transmitted by the GPS tracker can influence the amount of data used. For example, if the tracker is transmitting location coordinates along with additional information like speed and altitude, it will require more data compared to a tracker that only transmits location coordinates.

Additional features that may affect data usage: Some GPS trackers come with additional features like geofencing, remote monitoring, and voice communication. While these features can be extremely useful, they may also increase the data usage. For instance, if the tracker sends notifications when a geofence is breached or allows for two-way communication, it will consume more data.

It’s important to consider these factors when choosing a GPS tracker and managing data usage. Understanding how these factors impact data consumption can help you make informed decisions and optimize the usage of your GPS tracker.


Typical Data Usage of GPS Trackers – Different Levels of Data Consumption for Various Activities – Examples of Typical Data Usage Scenarios

GPS trackers have become increasingly popular for tracking the location of vehicles, assets, and even people. These devices utilize cellular networks to transmit location data to a central server or user. However, one common concern among GPS tracker users is the amount of data these devices consume. Understanding the typical data usage of GPS trackers can help users manage their data plans effectively and avoid unexpected charges.

The data usage of a GPS tracker can vary depending on several factors, including the frequency of location updates, the type of tracking service used, and the amount of additional data sent along with the location coordinates.

Generally, GPS trackers fall into three different levels of data consumption:

  1. Low Data Consumption: GPS trackers that operate on a low data consumption level typically send location updates at longer intervals, such as every few hours or once a day. These trackers transmit only minimal data, including the latitude and longitude coordinates, with no additional data. This level of data consumption is suitable for tracking assets that are not constantly on the move or for users with limited data plans.
  2. Moderate Data Consumption: GPS trackers at this level send location updates more frequently, usually every few minutes or hourly. Along with the coordinates, these trackers may send additional data such as speed, direction, and battery level. This level of data consumption is suitable for tracking vehicles or assets that require more frequent updates but still within a moderate range of data usage.
  3. High Data Consumption: GPS trackers that consume a high amount of data typically provide real-time tracking, sending continuous updates with minimal delay. They transmit not only location data but also additional information such as live video streaming or sensor data. This level of data consumption is suitable for applications where real-time tracking and detailed information are essential, such as fleet management or live surveillance.

To illustrate the typical data usage scenarios, here are a few examples:

  • A low data consumption GPS tracker used for tracking a shipment may consume around 1-5 megabytes of data per month, depending on the update frequency and the distance traveled by the shipment.
  • A moderate data consumption GPS tracker installed in a delivery truck may consume around 10-50 megabytes per month, taking into account the frequent updates and additional data transmitted, such as speed and battery level.
  • A high data consumption GPS tracker used for live video streaming in a security vehicle may consume several gigabytes of data per month, as it continuously transmits video footage along with location data.

It is important to note that these are general examples, and the actual data usage may vary based on the specific GPS tracker model, the settings, and the tracking service provider.

To manage and reduce the data usage of a GPS tracker, consider the following tips:

  • Adjust the update frequency: Set the tracker to send updates at longer intervals, if possible, to reduce the amount of data transmitted.
  • Optimize additional data sent: Disable unnecessary data transmissions, such as speed or battery level, if they are not essential for your tracking purposes.
  • Monitor data usage: Keep a close eye on the data consumption of your GPS tracker, and consider upgrading your data plan if needed.
  • Consider Wi-Fi or offline modes: Some GPS trackers have options to connect to Wi-Fi networks or store data locally when a cellular connection is not necessary.

By understanding the typical data usage of GPS trackers and implementing these tips, you can effectively manage your data plan and ensure that your GPS tracking activities remain within your desired data allocation.

Tips for Managing Data Usage

When it comes to using a GPS tracker, managing data usage is a crucial aspect. Excessive data consumption can lead to unexpected charges or even limit the functionality of the tracker. Here are some tips to optimize GPS tracker data consumption and reduce data usage:

1. Adjusting data update frequencies: One effective way to manage data usage is to adjust the data update frequencies on the GPS tracker. By reducing the frequency at which the tracker sends or receives data, you can minimize the amount of data used. However, it’s important to find the right balance to ensure the accuracy and real-time tracking capabilities of the device.

2. Utilizing offline maps: Another useful tip is to utilize offline maps. Most GPS tracker applications offer the option to download maps for offline use. By downloading the necessary maps in advance, you can navigate without relying on continuous data usage. This is particularly helpful when traveling to areas with limited or unreliable data connectivity.

3. Caching techniques: Caching is a smart method to optimize data consumption. GPS trackers often load map data and route information from the internet. By implementing caching techniques, the tracker can store and access previously loaded data, reducing the need for frequent data retrieval. This not only saves data usage but also improves the overall performance of the tracker.

4. Minimizing unnecessary data: To manage data usage effectively, it’s important to minimize unnecessary data consumption. This can be achieved by disabling unnecessary features or settings on the GPS tracker that use data in the background. For example, turning off automatic updates or limiting background app refreshing can help reduce data usage without compromising the core functionality of the tracker.

5. Roaming considerations: If you plan to use a GPS tracker while traveling abroad, it is essential to consider roaming charges. Data charges can vary significantly when using a GPS tracker in a foreign country. To avoid excessive roaming costs, it’s advisable to either disable data roaming or opt for a local SIM card with a data plan specifically for tracking purposes.

6. Monitoring data usage: Lastly, monitoring data usage is vital in effectively managing the consumption of GPS tracker data. Keep a track of the data usage by regularly checking the settings or using data monitoring apps. This will help you identify any unusual data usage patterns, enabling you to take necessary steps to prevent excessive data consumption.

By implementing these tips, you can optimize data consumption and manage the usage of your GPS tracker effectively. Remember to strike a balance between minimizing data usage and maintaining the necessary functionality for accurate tracking and navigation.


In conclusion, understanding the amount of data that a GPS tracker uses is essential for optimizing your mobile usage. The data consumption of a GPS tracker can vary depending on factors such as the frequency of updates, the type of tracker, and the specific application or device being used.

By tracking and monitoring your data usage, you can ensure that you have sufficient data allowance, avoid unexpected overage charges, and make the most out of your mobile plan. It is also important to consider using Wi-Fi whenever possible, disabling unnecessary background applications, and choosing an efficient tracking solution to minimize data usage.

Remember, using a GPS tracker is a valuable tool that offers convenience and peace of mind, but it’s essential to strike a balance between functionality and data consumption. With the right strategies and awareness, you can enjoy the benefits of GPS tracking while staying within your data limits.


1. How much data does a GPS tracker use?
A GPS tracker typically uses a small amount of data to transmit location information. The amount of data consumed depends on various factors, such as the frequency of updates, the length of the tracking session, and the type of GPS tracker being used. Generally, GPS trackers use between 5 to 100 megabytes (MB) per month.

2. Can you track a GPS device without using cellular data?
Yes, it is possible to track a GPS device without using cellular data. Some GPS trackers use alternative methods such as satellite communication or radio frequency technology to transmit location data. These methods do not rely on cellular networks, making them suitable for tracking in remote areas or when cellular data is not available.

3. Do I need a data plan for a GPS tracker?
Yes, a data plan is usually required for a GPS tracker that relies on cellular data for transmitting location information. The data plan allows the GPS tracker to connect to cellular networks and transmit the data to a central server or a mobile app for tracking purposes. It is important to check with your GPS tracker provider to determine the specific data plan requirements.

4. How can I minimize the data usage of my GPS tracker?
To minimize data usage, you can consider adjusting the settings of your GPS tracker. Decreasing the frequency of location updates or reducing the accuracy of location data can help reduce data consumption. Additionally, you can choose a GPS tracker that offers compressed data transmission or utilizes efficient algorithms to optimize data usage without sacrificing tracking accuracy.

5. Are there GPS tracking apps that work offline?
Yes, there are GPS tracking apps available that can work offline. These apps typically allow you to download maps and save them locally on your device, eliminating the need for continuous cellular data connection during tracking. However, it’s important to note that offline GPS tracking apps may have limitations in real-time tracking and may not be able to provide up-to-date location information.