Lookout determines location in multiple ways. GPS, the most accurate method, is used when possible. GPS can usually locate your phone down to a few meters. However, GPS location accuracy can be influenced by many factors:
- The GPS chipset on the phone
- Line of sight to the sky
- Building materials (e.g. modern glazed windows tend to block GPS)
- The number of satellites available when GPS is running
- The fix frequency—a trade-off between battery consumption and fix accuracy.
Lookout is working to refine its location capabilities, but if you use GPS and are outside, our location accuracy should be reasonably accurate to within 50 meters or better. However, if GPS is not available, location is determined by the nearest cell tower (generally accurate to within 1,000 meters) or by your WiFi connection. The Locate will run until it provides as precise a range as possible.
If you feel that Locate has returned a wildly false location, you may need to test the accuracy of the GPS reception. Please open Google Maps to determine if the location is similar to what Lookout is reporting. If Google maps displays a similar location, then the issue is with the GPS reception.
On Android phones the Locate function will enable GPS, if the phone allows it, for the duration of the Locate and then turn it off again when the Locate is completed to conserve battery charge.
On iPhones GPS, cellular and wireless data will be used to locate your device if you have enabled Location Services for the Lookout app.
Note 1: Data aggregated from a Locate is not currently checked for consistency. The source with the greatest accuracy (WiFi, GPS or cell tower) is the one reported—as stated by that source in relation to the device. However, it is possible for a cell tower or WiFi spot to report the wrong location. For instance, a tower in Colorado reports itself to be in Nevada, but if that tower is the physically closest to a Colorado phone, the user will see a "false" location report of Nevada. Lookout is currently working to create a system to check for consistency amongst the reported location data. If you believe that your location may be in error, try the Locate again from another location outside the range of the previous tower or WiFi point.
Note 2: If a phone shows "full bars," it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a solid data connection. Some mobile networks have a network band that shares data and talk, while others have separate bands for both. In either case, the "bars" on your phone only measure the talk band, while the indicators "3G," "4G," "edge," etc. after the bars measure the presence of that band but not its strength.