Do you need to mask your geographic location while surfing the web? One of the most well-known benefits of VPNs is that they can help you hide your real IP data, which contains some location information.
But is it possible for a VPN to actually mask your GPS signal and make it seem like you’re in a completely different location altogether?
Let’s find out.
Location Tracking: GPS vs. IP Technology
Before going any further, it’s important to understand the difference between global positioning system (GPS) and internet protocol (IP) geo-tracking technology.
GPS technology uses different variables to figure out where a user is located.
IP geo-tracking, on the other hand, only utilizes a single piece of information to determine where the connection is coming from.
The accuracy of a GPS location depends on the technology of the devices used to measure it.
It’s possible to narrow down a person’s location with 95% accuracy using GPS technology. In some cases, you can even establish the exact location of something or someone within one centimeter.
But, how exactly do these devices work?
A GPS provides the exact location of a user in terms of altitude and latitude coordinates.
This technology relies on a network of satellites, relay points, and receiving devices. It uses information like the time of day and network protocols to determine specific location data, like city and state.
Devices that track location using IP technology don’t consider as many factors as GPS-capable gadgets.
IP geo-trackers only use the connected device’s internet protocol information to map the address and determine the user’s location.
Now, the IP information of a device provides a huge amount of information about its location.
- Zip code;
- Internet service provider;
- And area code, among other details.
Now, it’s important to note that the data collected via IP is not considered as accurate as GPS.
This is because geographic IP information is collected from a public database after the IP number is identified.
In other words, the exact geographic information isn’t pulled from the connection itself, but from an online repository.
Therefore, when a user changes their IP address, it appears as if that person is connecting from the spoofed location.
Do VPNs Change Your Location?
So, now to the million-dollar question: do VPNs change your location?
This question has two distinct answers.
Most VPNs mask your IP address and replace it with a different value. So, if a website uses geo-trackers that rely on your IP address, most VPNs will be able to trick it.
Now, if a website or app uses your GPS location, the answer to this question is a bit more complex.
Can a VPN Mask My GPS Location?
To answer the question above, it’s important to note that every VPN has a unique set of features.
GPS spoofing or overriding is not a standard capability. Most VPNs will only mask your IP, but they still show your exact GPS location.
Now, some VPN providers have developed features that help override your GPS location, while also masking your IP at the same time.
That said, you need to ensure that the VPN you hire actually has this feature available.
To find a VPN that can mask your GPS location, you should compare leading providers and choose the one that has this feature available.
For instance, if you look at PIA vs. Surfshark, you’ll notice that the former doesn’t have GPS override, but the latter does.
Can a VPN Change Your Location on Google Maps?
Google collects a huge amount of information, so it can deduce your location using various methods.
In addition to your internet connection’s IP, Google can also use information collected from your browser to determine your location.
So, will a VPN change your location on Google Maps? Well, that depends on the VPN!
Leading VPN providers offer GPS spoofing, which can actually make Google Maps think you’re in a completely different country.
Does a VPN Stop GPS Tracking?
Standard VPNs that mask IP location don’t have the ability to counter GPS tracking.
The good news is that you can now hire a VPN that has GPS spoofing. This is considered a premium feature, so you won’t find it in free VPNs.
Instead, your best bet is to research different providers and find a VPN platform that can stop GPS trackers while also offering any additional features you require.
Online privacy is a major concern, but the only way to protect your data is to understand the difference between IP and GPS tracking technology.
Moreover, it’s important to find a VPN solution that can help you bypass trackers and browse the internet on your own terms.
While most VPNs only come with standard IP geo-tracking, leading providers offer quality GPS spoofing that helps mask your location from all apps, even from platforms like Google Maps.
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