How does GPS Work in Smartwatch? Is it Reliable?

How GPS Works in Smartwatch

Recently we have seen that even budget smartwatches are coming with GPS but still, we have to pay Rs 5000 to get that feature because adding GPS on a smartwatch is a bit expensive compared to implementing connected GPS.

So today, let’s deep dive into the Global Positioning System (GPS) and find out how GPS works on smartwatches and whether it is reliable or not.

How does GPS Work in Smartwatch?

How GPS Works in Smartwatch Image01

The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses Satellites from orbit approximately 21,000km above the earth’s surface. Most smartwatch receives singles from 4 different satellite which moves around the earth twice a day.

The GPS works without the internet, so you don’t need an LTE smartwatch to use the GPS features.

When the smartwatch receives data from the satellite, it then uses the algorithm made by the smartwatch brand, calculates all the data, and provides as accurate a location as possible.

Now, each brand uses a different kind of algorithm, so the data might be different on each smartwatch.

For example, Apple Watch will give you accurate data compared to a random smartwatch worth Rs 5000 because Apple had done R&D for the years and if they want they can spend more money but a new brand will take some time.

In the end, it depends on which brand’s Smartwatch you’re using it.

What is Connected GPS

What is Connected GPS

Some of the smartwatches worth Rs 5000 or even Rs 10000 come with connected GPS.

The reason for that is simple, they rely on the smartphone’s GPS. This mean, you will have to keep your smartphone with you will the time to use GPS on the smartwatch because the smartwatch doesn’t have built-in GPS.

If I put this simply, take connected GPS as Bluetooth, if you keep your smartwatch connected to your smartphone then you will be able to use GPS but if you go further then GPS will be disconnected.

What is GPS in Smartwatch?

What is GPS in Smartwatch

It opposite of connected GPS, get it…

The smartwatch with built-in GPS will receive direct single from the satellite, there is no need for smartphones or any other hardware to use GPS.

Now, GPS can be very helpful when doing outdoor running or if you have a kid then having built-in GPS on the smartwatch will give your kid more safety.

How Accurate is Smartwatch GPS?

How Accurate is Smartwatch GPS

It depends on the smartwatch you’re using, if you have a smartwatch worth Rs 4000 then it might not give you accurate GPS data but if you have an expensive smartwatch then there is a chance that you will get accurate GPS data.

The Smartwatch manufacturer adds antenna lines all around the smartwatch to receive single from the satellite and if the watch has good antenna lines then the satellite will send GPS data faster and the smartwatch will be able to process the data faster.

It also depends on how the smartwatch processes all the data.

Because GPS drains a lot of battery, so the battery-saving mechanism on some watches may bring down their accuracy.

This is the reason why you see that Smartwatch with Built-in GPS doesn’t provide longer battery life.

Does Weather Condition Affect the Accuracy of the GPS on a Smartwatch?

How Accurate is Smartwatch GPS Image01

Yes, it does because the earth has lots of layers around its orbit and if something is going on there then the GPS satellites will take some time to send data to the smartwatch GPS.

There won’t be a huge difference but yes, it won’t be as accurate.

Also, some modern smartwatches use the algorithm to get ideas, if satellites are taking longer than the usual time to send data, in that case, the smartwatch itself, factors the numbers to provide the GPS data accordingly.

Does GPS on a Smartwatch Work Without Internet?

Does GPS on a Smartwatch Work Without Internet

Yes, it does, GPS does work without any internet because the smartwatches receive direct single from the satellite, and the smartwatch itself processes all the data without the internet.

So don’t worry, if you don’t have the internet on a smartwatch, the GPS system will work fine.

Is GPS the Only Navigation System On Wearables?

GPS System used by countries
GPS Systems Used by Countries

Certainly not, we also have GLONASS, which uses 24 Russian Aerospace Defence Forces satellites to track location.

Do note, that all smartwatch doesn’t use both GPS and GLONASS because it costs them more money, that’s the reason why most budget smartwatch only uses GPS.

Now, if the smartwatch has both GPS and GLONASS then it will provide 20 percent more accurate data.


The GPS system is more complicated than what I have written here but I have tried my best to simplify everything.

Still, if you have any kind of question related to GPS on a smartwatch then do let me know in the comment box, and we will chat out it…

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*Images: Running Otaku

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