How to change your location on Android

Tips & tricks
8 mins
How To Change On Android

Sure, a top-tier VPN like ExpressVPN is the fastest way to spoof your Android’s location, but there are other ways. Our guide equips you with all the options, from leveraging a VPN to tweaking your Google Play Store region and Android’s built-in location settings.

How to use a VPN to change locations on Android

A premium VPN download is the easiest way to change your Android device location. Note that VPNs change your IP address and do not affect your GPS location. Most sites and services determine your location via your IP address, but your Android device itself uses GPS to know where you are. 

Here’s how to use an Android VPN to change locations on your Android device. We use ExpressVPN for our steps:

1. Download the ExpressVPN app on the Google Play Store

  • Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  • Search for “ExpressVPN” and find the official app.
  • Download the app.

2. Sign up or sign in

  • Launch the downloaded ExpressVPN app.
  • If you’re new to ExpressVPN, you’ll need to sign up for an account. There are various subscription plans, so choose one that suits your needs.
  • If you already have an ExpressVPN account, simply sign in using your existing credentials.

3. Pick the right settings 

  • ExpressVPN might request permission to establish a VPN connection. This is standard practice for VPN apps. Tap “OK” to proceed.

4. Select a country and connect

  • In the ExpressVPN interface, you’ll see a prominent “On” button. Tapping it will connect you to the best VPN server location for your network conditions.
  • You may choose your VPN location. Just tap the current location, and you’ll get to select a different country, city, or region.

Other ways to change your location on Android

While a VPN is a fast, easy way to change your digital location while also offering privacy and security benefits, there are other methods you use as well: 

1. Change your Google Play Store region

This can be helpful if you’re only looking to access apps or games that might not be available in your current region. However, it’s important to understand the limitations of this method. Changing your Play Store region primarily affects the apps and content you see in the store itself. It won’t change your device’s overall location for all purposes like browsing the web or using location-based services. Moreover, you can only change your Play Store country once a year, so do so with caution.

Here’s how to change your Google Play Store region:

  • Open the Google Play Store app on your Android device.
  • Tap on your profile picture in the top right corner.
  • Select Settings from the menu.
  • Scroll down and tap on Account and Device preferences.
  • Under Preferences, tap on Country and Profiles.
  • You’ll see your current Play Store region listed. Tap on it to choose a new region.

Remember that changing your Play Store region might affect your payment methods. For example, you might not be able to use a payment method associated with your previous region, so if you plan on purchasing an app, be sure to link to a compatible payment method before switching locations. And just another reminder: You can only change your Play Store country once a year.

2. Use mock location apps

Mock location apps for Android are third-party applications that allow you to manipulate your device’s GPS system. Instead of using your actual location, these apps create a virtual location, essentially tricking your device and any apps using  location services into thinking you’re somewhere else. 

Step 1: To use mock location apps, you must enable Developer Options on your Android device. This unlocks hidden settings for advanced users.

Step 2: Once Developer Options are enabled, you can download a third-party mock location app from the Google Play Store. We are not affiliated with any such apps; always thoroughly research and consider the safety of any apps before you download.

While mock location apps alter your GPS data to show you in a different location, most sites and apps do not use GPS to determine your country. Instead, they use IP addresses, which is why VPNs are more effective—they change your IP address to show a different location.

3. GPS spoofing with system files 

If you’re an advanced Android user, you might want to consider GPS spoofing using system files. This involves rooting your phone and modifying system files on your device to manipulate GPS data. It’s a complex process that can void your warranty and introduce security risks—and carries a high chance of bricking (permanently damaging) your device if done incorrectly. 

Moreover, this method shares the same issue as mock location apps: Most sites and apps do not use GPS to determine your country. Instead, they use IP addresses, which is why VPNs are more effective.

Why should you change location on your Android?

You might want to change your location settings on Android for several reasons. Some of the most common reasons: 

1. Protect your privacy

You might not want certain apps or services to know your location for privacy reasons. Changing your location gives you more control over your personal information.

2. Access different types of sites and services

Some services or websites might restrict content based on your location. For instance, you might be traveling and want to shop using your home country’s currency. Changing your location settings, through a VPN for example, would direct the site to show you content as if you were back home. 

3. Bypass censorship

There are many apps that are blocked in countries that are high in censorship. For instance, WhatsApp and Google are blocked in some places. Increasingly, adult sites are blocking themselves in various states in the U.S., due to new laws about who can access them. Changing your location will make such content accessible again.

4. App development and testing

If you’re a developer or a technical worker, you might need to change your location settings to test location-based features within your apps to see if it behaves as expected in different countries. 

How to improve your Android’s location accuracy

So you want your phone to know exactly where you are? Android devices rely on various technologies to pinpoint our location, but sometimes that location can be a little off.  Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Android’s location services:

1. Enable “high accuracy” mode

First and foremost, ensure your location services are turned on in the Settings menu. Most Android devices offer a “High accuracy” mode within the location settings. This mode leverages a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile network data to provide the most precise location possible. While it may consume slightly more battery, it’s worth enabling for better accuracy.

2. Calibrate your compass

While not always necessary, some Android versions allow calibration of the compass, which is said to aid in location accuracy, especially for navigation apps. Check your device’s settings menu for a “Compass calibration” option. 

3. Disable location-intensive features 

Features like Bluetooth scanning can sometimes interfere with GPS signals. If you’re not using them, consider disabling them to improve location accuracy potentially. However, this might affect the functionality of certain apps that rely on those features.

How to choose which Android apps use your location

Most Android devices grant specific permission, and you can decide which apps can see your whereabouts. Here’s how to choose which Android apps can use your location: 

  1. Head to the Settings menu and look for a tile labeled Location or an icon with a pin. 
  2. Once in the Location settings, look for App Permissions.
  3. Each app in the list will have its own location permission status. 
  4. Select an app you want to change the settings of. Here, you can choose the level of location access you want to grant. They are: 
  • Allow all the time: The app can access your location anytime, even when you’re not using it.
  • Allow only while using the app: The app can only access your location when actively using it. This is the most recommended option for most apps.
  • Ask every time: The app will ask for your permission whenever it wants to access your location.
  • Deny: The app cannot access your location at all.

How to turn location settings on and off on Android

There are two main ways to turn location services on and off on Android devices:

Method 1: Using the quick settings panel

  1. Swipe down from the top of your screen once to access the quick settings panel.

2. Look for a tile labeled “Location” or something similar (it might look like a pin icon).

3. Turn location on/off: If the “Location” tile is colored or has a filled-in icon, location services are currently enabled. Tap on the “Location” tile to disable location services. The tile might become grayed out, or the icon might become hollow.

Method 2: Using the Settings menu

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android device.

2. The location settings might be labeled differently depending on your device and Android version. Look for options like “Location,” “Privacy,” “Location services,” or “Connection.”

3. Tap on the relevant option to enter the location settings menu.

4. You should see a toggle switch or button labeled “Location” or “Use location.”

5. Turn location on/off: If the switch is turned on (usually green or blue) or the button says “On,” location services are enabled.

6. Tap the toggle switch or button to turn location services off (usually gray or white) or to switch it to “Off.”

How does my Android device track my location?

Here’s a list of all the ways that your Android device can track your location:

1. GPS

This is the most well-known method. GPS uses satellite signals to pinpoint your location accurately, especially in clear and open areas.

2. Wi-Fi

Your device can scan for nearby Wi-Fi access points even when you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network. By identifying these access points and their locations, your device can estimate your location with some accuracy.

3. Cell towers

Your phone constantly communicates with cell towers to maintain a signal. By analyzing the signal strength from different towers, your mobile carrier can estimate your general location (usually less precise than GPS).

4. Bluetooth

While not as widely used for location tracking, Bluetooth can also play a role. Like Wi-Fi scanning, your device can detect nearby Bluetooth devices and their known locations to contribute to a more comprehensive location picture.

5. Google location services

Some Android devices come with Google Location Services enabled. This service uses a combination of cell tower data, Wi-Fi data, and other anonymous location data from Google to improve location accuracy, especially in situations where GPS might be weak.

FAQ: About changing Android locations

Does changing my location on Android affect my device’s performance?
Is it illegal to change the location of my Android device?