INRIX is working hard to provide our members with the best of both worlds: the ability to notify you of upcoming traffic influencing incidents, like crashes and police activity, while limiting the drain of your phone’s battery. The app does this by using Apple’s Location Services functionality that allows us to use cell tower triangulation, and NOT the battery-heavy GPS chip of your phone.

Let’s start with a shared understanding of the Location Services feature. Counter to common misperception, the Location Services icon in the status bar does NOT necessarily equate to the use of your GPS chip. The Location Services features uses a potential mix of Global Positioning System (GPS), Wi-Fi and cell tower triangulation to determine your approximate location. Location Services allows all of your apps to provide you much more relevant content and answers. In some cases Location Services calls on GPS, for example when INRIX Traffic is open and in the foreground, so we can determine the exact road you are on, but at other times Location Services uses only cell tower triangulation, such as when INRIX Traffic is in the background monitoring for incidents on your behalf.

Screen shot of Apps using Location Services

To see all the apps that use Location Services, go to your iOS Settings app, then click on Location Services. A purple arrow icon next to the app will indicate that the app is currently using Location Services (even in background mode), while a gray arrow icon indicates that the app has used Location Services within the past 24 hours.

INRIX Traffic uses Location Services in 3 primary ways.

I.  INRIX Traffic open:

When the app is open, like other navigation apps, INRIX Traffic uses the highest granularity location services, which typically relies on the iPhone’s built-in GPS services.

II.  INRIX Traffic in background, alerts on, while driving:

When the app is in the background with traffic alerts on, the app may occasionally invoke your GPS chip. In our in-house test runs, we notice a typical battery drain from 100% to 96% percent over a 30 minute drive.

III. INRIX Traffic in background, alerts on, while stationary:

While you are stationary with the app in the background with traffic alerts on, Location Services rarely, if ever, directly invokes your GPS chip. In our testing, we have found battery drain to go from 100% to 97% percent over an 8 hour period.

While having the arrow in the status bar could be considered annoying, instead you should consider it reassurance that long as you see it there, INRIX is monitoring the road network around you and preparing to warn you before you find yourself hitting any major crashes or delays that would otherwise ruin your normal commute.

Happy and safe driving!