INRIX is working hard to provide you with the best of both worlds:
i) the ability, from the background, to notify you of upcoming hazards, like crashes and police activity
ii) limiting your phone’s battery drain.
The INRIX Traffic app provides background alerts by using Apple’s Location Services functionality that allows us to use cell tower triangulation to determine your location 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 perception, the Location Services icon in the status bar does NOT NECESSARILY equate to the use of your GPS chip. The Location Services feature 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.
To see all the apps that use Location Services, go to your iOS Settings, then click on Location Services. A purple arrow icon next to the app indicates that the app is currently using Location Services (even in background mode). The gray arrow icon indicates the app has used Location Services within the past 24 hours. And new with iOS 5.1, the outlined arrow icon indicates which apps are using a battery-friendly feature called “geofencing”. A geofence is a virtual perimeter around a hazard that the app uses to notify you when you are about to encounter it.
Screen shot of Apps using Location Services
Screen shot of Apple Location Services icons
INRIX Traffic uses Location Services in three primary ways.
1. 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.
2. 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, but as a whole uses geofenced incidents and cell tower triangulation. In our in-house test runs, we notice a typical battery drain from 100% to 96% percent over a 30 minute drive. Note: It may take several seconds for your Location Services icon to display the outlined arrow.
3. 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 instead relies on cell tower triangulation. In our testing, we have found battery drain to go from 100% to 97% percent over an 8 hour period. Note: It may take several seconds for your Location Services icon to display the outlined arrow.
To summarize, while having an arrow in your status bar could be considered annoying, we hope you consider it reassurance that INRIX is monitoring the road around you and preparing to warn you before you find yourself hitting any major crashes or police situations.
Happy and safe driving!
We hope you enjoy using INRIX Traffic. We welcome your feedback, ideas and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Foreman, VP Consumer Applications