Video: How to fake your location on Android
Anyone interested in privacy has probably felt a little uncomfortable about carrying a GPS-enabled device in their pocket all day. You can learn how to fake your location on Android to throw the scent off your trail, be it precautionary, a way to get around blackouts and censorship, or something else entirely.
A few notes: this is the most fool-proof way to do this. Your location can be compromised in a few different ways: your IP address, your GPS location, or the fact that your system has enabled mock locations. Sometimes, just taking care of one of these will be enough for the specific thing you are doing, but for a more holistic plan you’ll need to take care of all these things.
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This means you will need a VPN to take care of your IP address and prevent you from leaking data about your true location as you use the web (this is a weakness of proxies). We suggest PrivateInternetAccess, but there are many providers you can look into. If you aren’t sure what a VPN is, check out our article on that very topic.
The other obvious way to give up your location is via your GPS. You can turn your GPS off pretty securely with no clever hacking tricks, but some apps will not let you use them without giving them some clue where you are. Plus, it’s hard to hide from Google location-wise, so if you are trying to avoid corporate data gathering, you’ll want to sppof your GPS location.
We’re using LocationSpoofer for this in the tutorial, but there are several different apps that can do this and some might offer more free functionality than LocationSpoofer does. The main hangup is that the free version only lets you broadcast for one minute at a time. We are pretty sure that Fake GPS Location does not impose that restriction.
Lastly (but the first step in the process if you choose to do it), some apps will check to see whether you have your device set up to allow mock locations. In this case, they won’t know where you are, but they will know that you could be lying about it. Sometimes, especially with streaming content providers, this may mean you are blocked from using the app in question until mock locations have been turned off (even if you aren’t spoofing GPS or using a VPN at the time). You’ll need to turn on developer options to toggle the mock location settings.
The only way to deal with this is to convert your GPS spoofing app into a system app. This basically just means you will move the files that make up the application from /data to /system. The device will then recognize the spoofing app as needing no special permissions to tamper with your GPS; the “mock locations” setting will not have to be turned on. While you can convert to system app by plugging into your computer and dragging/dropping files or using a paid app like Titanium Backup, we’re going the free and easy route in this tutorial.
/system/app mover is free and can do this process for you. Keep in mind: this part of the tutorial requires root, no matter which app/method you use to convert to system app. There is always a risk when rooting and when using root-enabled apps. Make sure you trust whichever app you convert into a system app as well as all those that you grant root access. If you’re interested in learning how to root, you can find each article in our series on how to do that here.
Let us know in the comments how things worked out for you and if there is anything we could have explained better.
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