I have been using Runtastic PRO, but this keeps my phone awake the whole time (by awake I do not mean screen on, but that it has a wakelock, which keeps the phone state in awake which - of course - drains the battery very quickly).

I would like to be able to

  • track long hiking trips (I have a power bank which should charge the phone up to three times, but the trip will probably require even more, if I do not find a non-awake alternative)
  • avoid having the phone in "awake" state the whole time it tracks (e.g. waking up the phone to get a location and then putting it to sleep again every once in a while)
  • have all the other functionality of a tracking app like
    • kilometers passed,
    • average speed,
    • elevation graphs,
    • see the path travelled on the map
    • etc.

It can be just like runtastic, but just with some battery saving options, which would lead to less accurrate results and more battery life (at best with non-persistent wakelocks)

  • You will need some form of being awake, otherwise the GPS tracking will not work. Aquiring GPS fixes only periodically will take a longer time for the getting the fix.
    – Marcel
    Sep 4, 2015 at 12:09
  • However, what about tracking with a specific GPS device like Garmin which uses larger Batteries, and then import the Track? At least strava (strava.com) will allow that.
    – Marcel
    Sep 4, 2015 at 12:10
  • In open air environment like high elevation hiking the gps fixing could be faster, no? I am just guessing, I do not know much about this.
    – Ev0oD
    Sep 4, 2015 at 12:11
  • Yes, GPS is typically faster in not obstructed places. With Android Devices, you could try to disable GPS in the settings, and only periodically toggle it to on. Pobably this helps, but I for myself consider this quite a hassle. It this generally works, you could try to automate this with an automation tool like Tasker or Llama.
    – Marcel
    Sep 4, 2015 at 12:16
  • 1
    Runtastic is conceived for studying your performance. To do so, it needs accurate and (almost) constant pinpointing. For your needs, I suppose you don't need that precision. Instead, for hiking, taking your position once every five minutes should be enough to extrapolate all your data. I don't know any but this may be an interesting lead. I'm unsure about the impact on battery, though. The lifetime should be better, but I am incapable of estimating how much.
    – Chop
    Sep 4, 2015 at 13:27

2 Answers 2


For a low power track recording app, I recommend GPS Logger for Android (on Google Play). It is free and open source.

It has plenty of options for when to record points, eg based on time, distance or accuracy. So you can set it to record one point every 5 or 10 minutes. It also has an option for "keep GPS on between fixes". So if you turn this off, it should save a lot of battery power.

GPS Logger will give you some basic statistics for the track. ie distance travelled, duration, current speed, altitude. But it can not show any sort of elevation graphs or maps. The recorded track will be saved as a GPX or KML file, so this could be loaded into another app for more detailed analysis and maps etc.

  • 1
    Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for! With a good setting this had amazing performance. even with relatively frequent fixes without locking GPS fix and awake state (new point each three minutes or less) had minimalistic impact on my battery life compared to wakelocking tracking apps. Amazing!
    – Ev0oD
    Sep 10, 2015 at 18:43

In the end I moved from GPS Logger to Locus Map Pro, because the app is extremely powerful and it does offer the desired functionality, if you set it right. It also shows current tracking on map, you can edit it very well and you are allowed to export it elsewhere though there is no need for doing that.

If you have troubles setting Locus, type a comment, I can post the setting here, but it is reasonably intuitive.

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