A VPN serves as a great tool for maintaining privacy online. It alters your IP address and location from which you are browsing. This prevents websites from surveilling or tracking you. However, it is important to understand the difference between VPN and GPS locations. While these two systems can change your visible location, their functionalities are quite different.
A VPN cannot change your GPS location. GPS services are often used by different applications on a device, and they are unrelated to the IP address. Websites won’t be able to track your location based on your IP address when using a VPN, but your GPS location may still reveal the device’s location.
A large portion of our lives takes place online. Privacy and security are paramount in today’s world. If your true goal is to change or hide your location on the web, you will need more information about the capabilities of both VPN and GPS. Read on to understand the differences between VPN and GPS.
The Difference Between VPN and GPS
There are important differences between VPN and GPS that you must understand. Both VPN and GPS determine how your location appears to others. However, your GPS location will not be altered unless you use a fake GPS or a VPN with specific GPS spoofing capabilities.
Features of VPN
- Keeps your browsing activities private
- Bypasses your internet service provider
- Hides your IP address and changes your virtual location
- Encrypts data
- Available as hardware or software
Devices that connect to the internet have IP addresses. These IP addresses are traceable and are linked to a specific location. VPNs route your connection to a VPN server preventing your real IP address from being traced. By hiding your IP, your virtual location is also changed.
VPNs also encrypt your data, so if someone tries to spy on it, it will not be accessible. This keeps your private information and internet history protected.
Features of GPS (Global Positioning System)
- Bounces radio waves off satellites
- Operates via hardware in your device
- Allows software and apps to access your location data
Unlike a VPN, a GPS receiver is a piece of hardware in your device. A VPN cannot spoof your GPS location because the GPS information has nothing to do with your IP address. In fact, your GPS location data can be transferred inside a VPN tunnel.
Most of our applications, especially on our cell phones, request to use our location services. This location data is directly pulled from our GPS information. It allows these applications to tailor their usefulness to us based on our place on the map. However, this does nothing to improve our privacy or help mask our online presence.
Features of Fake GPS and GPS Spoofing Software
- Overrides GPS receiver data
- Fakes your device’s GPS location
GPS faking or spoofing is a relatively new but simple way to trick the location services in your devices into believing you and your devices are in a different location. This helps keep your actual location and the location at which you are browsing online private.
There are several applications available for download that claim to spoof your GPS location. It is even possible to build a GPS spoofing gadget for personal use.
Potential Uses for VPNs and Fake GPS Locations
It is common to use VPNs and GPS location spoofers for privacy and security. Both technologies combined would allow you to reduce the threat of being tracked and hide your real location from the websites visited.
- Added Security
VPNs and GPS spoofers provide additional security when you are conducting business, handling private financial information, or just browsing the web. All of these benefits promote safety and privacy online.
- Accessing Geographically-Restricted Media
VPNs are also useful if you want to play video games or access websites and streaming services that are only available in certain regions. Because you can choose your network server location when running on a VPN, you can choose a country or region where your desired media is accessible.
- Avoid Throttling Internet Speeds
Since a VPN will allow you to bypass your ISP’s restrictions, you will not be subject to bandwidth throttling. Your ISP cannot monitor how much bandwidth you are consuming while you use a VPN, so your speeds will not be limited.
- Safer Public WiFi
Connecting to public WiFi is always a risk, but VPNs make it much safer, thanks to data encryption. Public WiFi at an airport or a cafe can be perilous due to the prevalence of hacking and data theft. With a VPN, you will not have to worry about this danger. You can reap the benefits of free WiFi without fearing the possible negatives.
- Hide location
GPS spoofing allows you to prevent apps and websites from knowing your true location. Usually a VPN is enough to hide it, but sometimes websites specifically ask to access your GPS location. This is where faking your location can fully hide your from websites and trackers.
VPN alone is enough to hide your location. However, sometimes websites and apps use in-built GPS location services, which can be sent over VPN connection. To hide your GPS you need to use GPS spoofing apps. Currently, Surfshark is the only VPN that offers a GPS spoofing capabilities for Android users.