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3.0.0-beta.4 • Public • Published

Cordova Background Geolocation · npm npm

The most sophisticated background location-tracking & geofencing module with battery-conscious motion-detection intelligence for iOS and Android.

The plugin's Philosophy of Operation is to use motion-detection APIs (using accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer) to detect when the device is moving and stationary.

  • When the device is detected to be moving, the plugin will automatically start recording a location according to the configured distanceFilter (meters).

  • When the device is detected be stationary, the plugin will automatically turn off location-services to conserve energy.

Also available for React Native, NativeScript and pure native apps.

The Android plugin requires purchasing a license. However, it will work for DEBUG builds. It will not work with RELEASE builds without purchasing a license.

(2018) This plugin is supported full-time and field-tested daily since 2013.

Home Settings


🔷 Installing the plugin

From npm

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt


$ ionic cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt

Phonegap Build

  <plugin name="cordova-background-geolocation-lt" source="npm">

From master (latest, greatest.)

$ cordova plugin add

🔷 Using the Plugin

There are three simple steps to using BackgroundGeolocation:

  1. Listen to events.
  2. #ready the plugin.
  3. #start the plugin.

Ionic 2+ with Typescript

The plugin hosts its own Typescript API:

Sample Implementation

// You may import any optional interfaces
import BackgroundGeolocation, {
} from "cordova-background-geolocation-lt";
class HomeView {
  // Like any Cordova plugin, you must wait for Platform.ready() before referencing the plugin.
  configureBackgroundGeolocation() {
    // 1.  Listen to events.
    BackgroundGeolocation.onLocation(location => {
      console.log('[location] - ', location);
    BackgroundGeolocation.onMotionChange(event => {
      console.log('[motionchange] - ', event.isMoving, event.location);
    BackgroundGeolocation.onHttp(response => {
      console.log('[http] - ', response.success, response.status, response.responseText);
    BackgroundGeolocation.onProviderChange(event => {
      console.log('[providerchange] - ', event.enabled, event.status, event.gps);
    // 2.  Configure the plugin with #ready
      reset: true,
      debug: true,
      logLevel: BackgroundGeolocation.LOG_LEVEL_VERBOSE,
      desiredAccuracy: BackgroundGeolocation.DESIRED_ACCURACY_HIGH,
      distanceFilter: 10,
      url: '',
      autoSync: true,
      stopOnTerminate: false,
      startOnBoot: true
    }, (state) => {
      console.log('[ready] BackgroundGeolocation is ready to use');
      if (!state.enabled) {
        // 3.  Start tracking.

Cordova / Ionic 1

// Like any Cordova plugin, you must wait for deviceready before referencing the plugin.
function onDeviceReady() {
  // 1.  Listen to events
  var bgGeo = window.BackgroundGeolocation;
  bgGeo.onLocation(function(location) {
    console.log('[location] -', location);
  bgGeo.onMotionChange(function(event) {
    console.log('[motionchange] -', event.isMoving, event.location);
  bgGeo.onHttp(function(response) {
    console.log('[http] - ', response.success, response.status, response.responseText);
  bgGeo.onProviderChange(function(event) {
    console.log('[providerchange] -', event.status, event.enabled, event.gps,;
  // 2. Execute #ready method:
    reset: true,
    debug: true,
    logLevel: bgGeo.LOG_LEVEL_VERBOSE,
    desiredAccuracy: bgGeo.DESIRED_ACCURACY_HIGH,
    distanceFilter: 10,
    url: '',
    autoSync: true,
    stopOnTerminate: false,
    startOnBoot: true
  }, function(state) {    // <-- Current state provided to #configure callback
    // 3.  Start tracking
    console.log('BackgroundGeolocation is configured and ready to use');
    if (!state.enabled) {
      bgGeo.start().then(function() {
        console.log('- BackgroundGeolocation tracking started');
  // NOTE:  Do NOT execute any API methods which will access location-services
  // until the callback to #ready executes!
  // For example, DO NOT do this here:
  // bgGeo.getCurrentPosition();   // <-- NO!
  // bgGeo.start();                // <-- NO!

ℹ️ NOTE: The configuration {} provided to the #ready method is applied only when your app is first booted — for every launch thereafter, the plugin will automatically load the last known configuration from persistant storage. If you wish to force the #ready method to always apply the supplied config {}, you can specify reset: true

  reset: true,  // <-- true to always apply the supplied config
  distanceFilter: 10
}, function(state) {
  console.log('- BackgroundGeolocation is ready: ', state);

⚠️ Do not execute any API method which will require accessing location-services until the callback to #ready executes (eg: #getCurrentPosition, #watchPosition, #start).

Promise API

The BackgroundGeolocation Javascript API supports Promises for nearly every method (the exceptions are #watchPosition and adding event-listeners (eg: #onLocation). For more information, see the API Documentation

// Traditional API still works:
BackgroundGeolocation.ready({desiredAccuracy: 0, distanceFilter: 50}).then(state => {
  console.log('- BackgroundGeolocation is ready: ', state);
}).catch(error => {
  console.log('- BackgroundGeolocation error: ', error);

🔷 Configuring the plugin

After adding the plugin, your config.xml will contain the following block, containing a number of <variable /> for you to configure (eg: LICENSE):

<widget id="">
  <plugin name="cordova-background-geolocation-lt">
    <variable name="LICENSE" value="YOUR_LICENSE_KEY" />
    <variable name="GOOGLE_API_VERSION" value="15.0.1" />
    <variable name="APPCOMPAT_VERSION" value="27.1.1" />
    <variable name="LOCATION_ALWAYS_AND_WHEN_IN_USE_USAGE_DESCRIPTION" value="Always use is required for background location tracking" />
    <variable name="LOCATION_ALWAYS_USAGE_DESCRIPTION" value="Background location-tracking is required" />
    <variable name="LOCATION_WHEN_IN_USE_USAGE_DESCRIPTION" value="Background location-tracking is required" />
    <variable name="MOTION_USAGE_DESCRIPTION" value="Using the accelerometer increases battery-efficiency by intelligently toggling location-tracking only when the device is detected to be moving" />

To configure these <variable />, you simply re-add the plugin, providing desired --variable to the cordova plugin add command. You can combine multiple --variable together in one command or execute cordova plugin add successivly.

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt --variable VARIABLE_NAME=value

$ cordova platform remove android
$ cordova platform add android

❗️ To apply changes to these <variable />, you must remove/re-add the cordova platform(s)

Configuring Multiple Variables at Once

Use the \ character followed by [ENTER] in console to configure multiple variables with one command:

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt \
  --variable LICENSE=your_key_here \
  --variable GOOGLE_API_VERSION=15.0.1 \
  --variable APPCOMPAT_VERSION=27.1.1 \
  --variable MOTION_USAGE_DESCRIPTION="My motion usage description"
$ cordova platform remove android
$ cordova platform add android
$ cordova platform remove ios
$ cordova platform add ios

Or each variable separately

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt --variable MOTION_USAGE_DESCRIPTION="My Motion Usage Description"
$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt --variable LOCATION_ALWAYS_AND_WHEN_IN_USE_USAGE_DESCRIPTION="My Usage Description"
$ cordova platform remove ios
$ cordova platform add ios

After editing variables, ALWAYS REMOVE / RE-ADD PLATFORM

$ cordova platform remove android
$ cordova platform add android
$ cordova platform remove ios
$ cordova platform add ios

Configuring your LICENSE key

After generating your Android license-key in the Product Dashboard, Configure the LICENSE variable:

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt --variable LICENSE=your_key_here
// Remove / re-add the Android platform
$ cordova platform remove android
$ cordova platform add android

Configuring play-services Version

Many other plugins require Google Play Services and/or Firebase libraries. This is a common source of Android build-failures, since the play-services library version must be aligned to the same version for all plugins. For example, when one plugin imports version 11.0.1 and another one imports 11.2.0, a gradle build failure will occur. Use the GOOGLE_API_VERSION to align the required play-services version with other plugins.

⚠️ The plugin requires a minimum version of 11.2.0.

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt --variable GOOGLE_API_VERSION=15.0.1
$ cordova platform remove android
$ cordova platform add android

Configuring for useSignificantChangesOnly

For those using useSignificantChangesOnly: true, possibly because Apple denied your use of the background location capability, you can disable background location by providing the BACKGROUND_MODE_LOCATION <variable /> with an empty-string:

$ cordova plugin add cordova-background-geolocation-lt --variable BACKGROUND_MODE_LOCATION=""
$ cordova platform remove ios
$ cordova platform add ios

Configuration Variables


@variable LICENSE [""]

Your Android license key generated from Product Dashboard

@variable GOOGLE_API_VERSION ["15.0.1"]

Sets the desired version of play-services-location dependency. Many other plugins require play-services dependencies, (eg: cordova-plugin-googlemaps, phonegap-plugin-push): If the version of play-services and/or firebase is not aligned to the same version for ALL plugins, your build will fail.

@variable APPCOMPAT_VERSION ["27.1.1"]

Sets the desired version of dependency. Many other plugins can require a different version of appcompat-v7 dependeny: If the version of appcompat-v7 is not aligned to the same version for ALL plugins, your build will fail. BackgroundGeolocation requires a minimum version of 26.1.0 due to its support for Android 8.


@variable LOCATION_ALWAYS_AND_WHEN_IN_USE_USAGE_DESCRIPTION ["Background location-tracking is required"]

Customize the message displayed to the user when AlwaysAndWhenInUse location authorization is requested. This variable is added to your iOS .plist in the NSLocationAlwaysAndWhenInUseUsageDescription key.

@variable LOCATION_ALWAYS_USAGE_DESCRIPTION ["Background location-tracking is required"]

(deprecated in iOS 11.0) Customize the message displayed to the user when Always location authorization is requested. This variable is added to your iOS .plist in the NSLocationAlwaysUsageDescription key.

@variable LOCATION_WHEN_IN_USE_USAGE_DESCRIPTION ["Background location-tracking is required"

Customize the message displayed to the user when WhenInUse location authorization is requested. This variable is added to your iOS .plist in the NSLocationWhenInUseUsageDescription key.

@variable MOTION_USAGE_DESCRIPTION ["Using the accelerometer increases battery-efficiency by..."

Customize the message displayed to the user when "Motion & Fitness" permission is requested. The plugin is highly optimized to use iOS CMMotionActivityManager API for intelligently toggling location-services only when the plugin is detected to be moving.

@variable BACKGROUND_MODE_LOCATION ["&lt;string&gt;location&lt;/string&gt;"]

Adds the iOS background-mode location to your iOS .plist file. This is the default behaviour. To disable this, (ie: for those using useSignificantChangesOnly), provide an empty-string:

  <variable name="BACKGROUND_MODE_LOCATION" value="" />

⚠️ If you do want the default behaviour of background-location updates, simply IGNORE this variable -- Do NOT even provide it. If you do provide it, you must provide the full escaped XML value of &lt;string&gt;location&lt;/string&gt; (the default value when not provided), not just location.

🔷 Advanced Sample Application

A fully-featured SampleApp is available in its own public repo. After first cloning that repo, follow the installation instructions in the README there. This SampleApp includes a settings-screen allowing you to quickly experiment with all the different settings available for each platform.

If you're using XCode, boot the SampleApp in the iOS Simulator and enable Debug->Location->Freeway Drive.

🔷 Simple Testing Server

A simple Node-based web-application with SQLite database is available for field-testing and performance analysis. If you're familiar with Node, you can have this server up-and-running in about one minute.


Copyright (c) 2018, Transistor Software (9224-2932 Quebec Inc)
All rights reserved.
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  2. License Grant: Licensor hereby grants Licensee a Personal, Non-assignable & non-transferable, Commercial, Royalty free, Including the rights to create but not distribute derivative works, Non-exclusive license, all with accordance with the terms set forth and other legal restrictions set forth in 3rd party software used while running Software.

    2.1 Limited: Licensee may use Software for the purpose of: - Running Software on Licensee's Website[s] and Server[s]; - Allowing 3rd Parties to run Software on Licensee's Website[s] and Server[s]; - Publishing Software’s output to Licensee and 3rd Parties; - Distribute verbatim copies of Software's output (including compiled binaries); - Modify Software to suit Licensee’s needs and specifications.

    2.2 Binary Restricted: Licensee may sublicense Software as a part of a larger work containing more than Software, distributed solely in Object or Binary form under a personal, non-sublicensable, limited license. Such redistribution shall be limited to unlimited codebases.

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