679 Followers
·
Follow

What Are GPS Spoofing Apps Actually Doing?

There a lot of GPS Spoofing apps on the market, each looking a little different from the other, but almost all doing pretty much the same thing. In Android, there is only one way to spoof your device’s GPS (without rooting), and that’s to use Android’s built in Mock Location API located in Developer Options. In Android 6.0 and above you select the specific app you would like to use. In older versions, it’s just a simple check box that enables mock locations mode for any app on your device.

So once you select a mock location app, and start it up, what happens? What data is that mock location app mocking for you? In short, there are 5 variables that the mock location API asks for to mock your location: latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and accuracy. Typically, most apps just change the latitude and longitude values to change your GPS location to some place in the world. But what about the other 3 values (altitude, speed, and accuracy)? Surprisingly, almost all GPS Spoofing apps set these values to some constant number, whether it’s 0, 1, or some random number, it’s a value that remains the same. Some apps do give the user the option to set these values via settings, but even then, the number never changes when the user is actively using the app and changing their location. The only exception to this, is GPS JoyStick, it is the only app in the Google Play store that actually mocks realistic, always updating data for all necessary GPS values.

GPS JoyStick is the only app in the Google Play store that actually mocks realistic, always updating data for all necessary GPS values.

Real GPS

Device GPS While Stationary:

Image for post
Image for post
Device GPS While Stationary

Device GPS While Moving:

Image for post
Image for post
Device GPS While Moving

Spoofing Apps

Typical Spoofing App While Stationary:

Image for post
Image for post
Typical Spoofing App While Stationary

Typical Spoofing App While Moving:

Image for post
Image for post
Typical Spoofing App While Moving

Notice how the altitude, speed, and accuracy never change! And to make it more ironic, the speed value remains at 0 even when you are moving! And you can probably guess, if the spoofing app simulates any type of movement for you, whether it’s through a joystick or route option, it would report locations in a perfect straight line from the starting point to the end point, which is definitely not the way a real GPS works.

GPS JoyStick

It is the only app in the Google Play store that actually mocks realistic, always updating data for all necessary GPS values. And all of those values are customizable via the Settings page. In almost all cases, the default values work perfectly for simulating real GPS values. To top it off, the slew of features it comes with make it pretty much the only GPS Spoofing app that you need for Pokemon GO. From favorites to routes for teleporting and auto egg hatching/walking, to the teleport dialog for sniping with Pokesniper/Pokezz or any latitude-longitude coordinates, there isn’t any app that comes close to having all the features you need to play Pokemon GO. It’s a free app and available now on the Google Play Store. And of course, here’s what GPS JoyStick looks like when mocking your location:

GPS JoyStick While Stationary:

Image for post
Image for post
GPS JoyStick While Stationary

GPS JoyStick While Moving:

Image for post
Image for post
GPS JoyStick While Moving

Look familiar? You may have noticed, there were slight fluctuations in latitude, longitude and accuracy while not moving. And when it was simulating movement, the speed and altitude also started changing. This is exactly how your device’s GPS works. As it stands, there are no apps out there that emulate a real GPS to this degree and detail. Do download and test this yourself if you are curious.

But Does It Matter?

Pokemon GO took the world by storm, it was the first location based augmented reality game that truly appealed to the masses and gained popularity extremely quickly. Forcing players to physically walk to a specific location to catch virtual creatures is no easy task, but Pokemon GO did it. But with all games, there are always people who don’t have the ability, time or option to play as intended. For Pokemon GO, many players simply did not live near places required to truly enjoy the game. As a result, we saw a flood of GPS Spoofing apps hit the app stores to satisfy the needs of many trainers who just weren’t able to travel to places to capture Pokemon.

Niantic, the company that developed Pokemon GO, is no stranger to GPS Spoofing apps since they had to deal with them in their first location based game: Ingress. With that said, it may only be a matter of time before they start implementing similar techniques to catch spoofers in Pokemon GO. But there must be a reason they have held off on banning spoofers if they have the methods to detect them. My guess is, they don’t have a full proof method of detecting spoofers and instead rely on observing data and behaviors. In other words, if they see location data from a player that always returns the same altitude no matter there they are in the world, they can probably discern that they are spoofing. The same goes for speed and accuracy values. It could be that Niantic is waiting to capture enough data to catch spoofers with 100% accuracy as they probably don’t want to deal with banning legitimate paying players and dealing with the backlash that would follow.

So What Should We Do?

Written by

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store