Location Based Services

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Modern mobile phones store geographic information, GPS coordinates, wifi networks, mobile cells.


  • Stores wifi networks:
    • BSSID, Location, Accuracy, Timestamp, ...
  • Stores mobile geo information:
    • your providers cell towers, Cell Numer, Location, ...
  • Database without size limit
  • Sends data how?
  • Correlates with GPS
  • Data used ..?


Android's location services stores information for caching reasons in two database files to speed up your GPS fix.

Information stored

Location on your device

  • /data/data/com.google.android.location/files
    • cache.wifi
    • cache.cell


  • Database is limited to:
    • 200 Wi-Fi entries
    • 50 Cell entries
Value Type Description
key cell: mcc + ":" + mnc + ":" + lac + ":" + cid
accuracy int
confidence int
latitude double
longitude double
readingTime long


  • Settings -> Location & Security -> Use wireless networks
    • when ticked: stores information in two databases
    • when un-ticked: no information get's stored on your device

How to disable the cache

There are two ways to "disable" prevent your phone from storing caching information on your device.

First method

Your can disable the whole caching process by un-ticking Use wireless networks under Settings -> Location & Security -> Use wireless networks. But this may slow down your GPS fix.

Second method (requires a rooted phone)

You can prevent that the location service writes to the said two files with

  • chmod 000 /data/data/com.google.android.location/files/cache.wifi
  • chmod 000 /data/data/com.google.android.location/files/cache.cell

Windows Mobile