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I plan to go hiking in an area where I do not anticipate there being much cell coverage at all. What there is will likely be very spotty. I would like to use the All Trails app to track my progress using the built in GPS in my iPhone 4S. I don't need any data while I am actually hiking (and tracking my progress with GPS). My concern is that the phone will uselessly drain it's battery trying to find cell signal when it could have made it easily through the day if there was a way to force it to stop looking. The problem with Airplane mode is that it shuts the GPS off as well.

Is there a way to conserve battery and use the GPS?

I could get a solar charger or battery charger but would prefer not to.

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Airplane mode was the first thing I thought of, but apparently it disables GPS, Bluetooth and Wifi as well. Bluetooth and Wifi can be re-enabled, but not GPS. –  Noah Jul 24 '12 at 19:18
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The best way to conserve battery is to turn off the following:

  1. Cellular data ( Settings > General > Cellular)
  2. Bluetooth (Settings > Bluetooth)
  3. And Wifi (Settings > Wifi)

Some may recommend closing all the apps in the app switcher, but those shouldn't drain battery.

I have found my iPhone 4S to last about a day with no/almost none cell phone coverage at all while tracking my "travel" (hiking, walking, whatever) with GPS. This approach seems to work quite well.

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Have you ever had issues where the GPS can't get a fix on your location because there are no cell towers? –  Kevin Chen Jan 10 '13 at 0:15
    
@KevinChen, Honestly, I was extremely impressed and pleased with the spot on accuracy. While I was in CO, I even did off-trailing (I don't think I ever had signal during those times), and then used the app (actually RunKeeper) when returning in keeping close to where I went up. I just started RunKeeper then usually dropped it in the media pouch of my backpack - it did the rest. The mountain/valley didn't seem to bother the GPS signal either. –  bassplayer7 Jan 10 '13 at 0:25
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