Difference Between VPN and GPS: Can VPN Change GPS Location?
If you want to ensure online privacy and avoid region restrictions and geo-blocks, a VPN is the best tool for the job. It helps you protect your sensitive information and hides your real IP address from anyone who might want to use it for unkind purposes. But, it’s crucial to know that there are some things it cannot do. Above all else, it’s key not to confuse changing your VPN location with changing your GPS location.
The bottom line is that a VPN cannot change your GPS location. This is because the GPS location service on your device is controlled by a different app. More importantly, these apps are not related to your IP address. Websites won’t be able to track your location based on your IP address when using a VPN. So, while you won’t reveal your real IP address, your GPS location may still give away your location.
Considering this, understanding the nuanced VPN GPS difference and knowing how to alter both can be a valuable ability. After all, it’s the only way to truly hide your location in the modern online world. With that in mind, continue reading if you want to learn how GPS and a VPN work and what their main differences are.
VPN and GPS Overview
A VPN and GPS both determine how your location appears to others. But, as we’ll get to it later down the page, the way they do so is significantly different between these two. They work independently from each other, and here’s how so:
How Does a VPN Work?
When you connect to a VPN server, the service encrypts your newly-connected network so that all the data you send goes through a secure VPN tunnel. Your real IP address is replaced by the IP in the location you’ve picked. That way, you can use a VPN to play video games, torrent, and enjoy the Internet in privacy.
However, what’s important in the context of this page, the IP address is completely unrelated to the GPS. So, if you’re asking yourself, “does a VPN affect GPS”, the answer is no. On its own, it only changes your IP, not your GPS location.
- Replaces your real IP with the VPN’s IP address
- Keeps all of your activities private
- Encrypts the data you send through its tunnels
- Enables you to avoid geo-targeting and censorship
- Most often used as software, also available as hardware
How Does a GPS Work?
The Global Positioning System is a satellite-based system that includes at least 24 satellites. Currently, the US has 32 satellites in orbit, with the latest one launched in 2018. These satellites circle the planet at an altitude of around 12.500 miles or 20,000 kilometers. It includes three components—the satellites, the ground stations, and the receivers.
GPS can be either software or hardware-based. And, contrary to what most casual tech users think, GPS is not linked to your IP address in any way. In fact, it’s not linked to the Internet at all.
It’s entirely independent of a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. This is why you can’t hide your GPS with a standard VPN. With all of this in mind let’s take a look at some of the key features of GPS:
- Uses radio satellites in orbit to transmit signals
- Enables apps and various software to access your location data
- Available as both hardware and software
- Can be employed for a variety of safety and convenience uses
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What are the Differences Between VPN and GPS
GPS can’t be spoofed any other way except by overriding the location your GPS antenna picks up on. To put it into simpler terms, the best way to override your real GPS and replace it with a mock location would be to use an app.
More specifically, you’ll need to install an app on your phone and then tell your phone to use the GPS location provided by the app instead of the phone’s built-in GPS feature.
In comparison, a VPN works on a network level. VPN IP addresses are commonly fixed to a certain geographical area. So, when you connect to a network in the area, you’re connecting to an IP it is fixed to. That way, you can switch your real IP address to the VPN’s address and appear to be accessing the Internet from a different region.
Can You Change Your GPS Location By Using a VPN?
Yes, you can change your GPS location using a VPN, but you’ll need a VPN service with VPN spoofing capabilities. Other than that, there’s no way to change your GPS simply by using a VPN. Most regular VPNs aren’t able to change your GPS location.
If you use a regular VPN, you will also have to download a dedicated app that will enable you to spoof your GPS location. While the process of GPS spoofing is pretty simple on its own, there aren’t many apps that can carry out the job. This is because the app you use should be able to override the original GPS receiver data and fake your device’s GPS location.
How to Change Your GPS Location With or Without a VPN
As we’ve previously briefly mentioned, if you want to change your GPS location with a VPN, you’ll need to carefully pick a service that has these capabilities. In this regard, Surfshark is the best VPN with a GPS override function.
This fake GPS VPN feature is only available on Android devices. This is understandable, as GPS spoofing iOS is a challenging undertaking on its own. But, with a very capable app and a helpful guide, Surfshark makes overriding your GPS location a piece of cake.
So, if you’re looking to hide your real location from the websites you’re browsing and fake your device’s physical location in one swoop, Surfshark is the best pick.
Hopefully, this concise page has helped you better understand the features of GPS and VPNs and discern their differences. To sum it up in a few words, if you want to hide your IP address, you should use a VPN. On the other hand, if you want to change your GPS location, you should override your real GPS with a spoofing app.
And, in case you want to hide both, the only trusted service combining VPN GPS capabilities is Surfshark. Except for signing up with this VPN, the next best way to hide both your IP and GPS location is to use a dedicated GPS app and pick a premium VPN you can trust.
Cybersecurity and VPN researcher