I'm creating a mobile application that requires the accessibility to users' location, but it seems that a large portion of users does not trust mobile applications that require GPS permissions or become so lazy to turn on the location service on their devices. Is there any solution to motivate the users to allow the GPS permissions?

  • Have they already installed the app when they discover that it needs GPS? You should disclose that before they install it. Few things are more frustrating than saying, "If I had known up front I would not have..." especially when someone knew and didn't tell. Be honest.
    – user67695
    Jan 18, 2018 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure who are your users, so I will just use a method for you to think of proper motivation for them to do action.

  1. Trigger - based from your user persona, look for the possible triggers that you can use. Do user tests to know which will be the best way to motivate them.
  2. Action - how simple the GPS activation will be (is this a prompt yes/no to enable GPS or a manual instruction to enable GPS?)
  3. Reward - Based from your users again, will the reward be something that will fulfil their wants on your app?
  4. Investment - What bit of work was done that could allow them to follow your instruction again. For example, if they already activated GPS from your first step, another prompt is needed to be done to continue. Do you think users will still follow your next instruction or leave the app because they got bored or something else?

I think that the key point is to make it clear, in a nutshell, for what purpose(s) you'll need the GPS to be on. According to the 13th law of the book called 48 Laws of Power, when asking for help, you should appeal to people's self-interest, so it's very recommended that you say to the user how they will benefit by turning on the GPS.


  • Put why you need the GPS in a nutshell
  • Appeal to the user's self-interest (how they will benefit by turning the GPS on)
  • I like the reference to a book that looks interesting. But someone selling an app is not really asking for help. If all of the benefits and costs are known, the user simply decides whether to use (and therefore buy / install) the app, or not. If the user did not know before installing that GPS would be necessary, then someone was not honest or at least was not complete in describing the app. I tried to get an "online quote" from an insurer once, and after going through all the steps and disclosing my address, I was told that I must inquire by phone. I got unwanted postal mailings for years.
    – user67695
    Jan 18, 2018 at 14:36

Do you know for sure that users do not turn GPS on based on trust topic? Maybe they fear for the battery duration. You should first conduct a randomized questionnaire or interview about this. User motivation is a very hard job. In case the topic is about trust, only thing to do is to offer users a clear benefit for them from the GPS usage. Just be sure about what a benefit really is to your users (try to not use your prejudices, ask them directly)

  • On many devices, GPS is a huge battery drain so many keep it off. As for the privacy issue... How did(would) you feel about your parents demanding to know your location 24/7? Why not just allow the user to set various locations they frequent and then ask, "Current location?" when needed for a function? Jan 26, 2018 at 17:19

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