How To Change your Location in WeChat
Can you change your location in WeChat? Can you spoof your GPS so you appear to be somewhere other than where you are? Can you pretend you’re on the moon rather than in your room? These are just a few of the questions we have received over the past couple of weeks thanks to TechJunkie’s coverage of GPS spoofing and faking locations in other apps.
As one of the most popular chat apps in the world, it is natural that some WeChat users want to know if they can use the same techniques we use on other apps there too.
I have some bad news for you. You cannot fake your location in WeChat and you can only sort of change your location. WeChat works differently than other apps so the usual tricks don’t work. I did find a kind of a workaround from a Chinese forum that sometimes works though.
WeChat forces you to add a location and will then verify it to make sure you’re telling the truth. As part of the app is location-based, it takes this aspect seriously so there isn’t a simple workaround.
Location in WeChat
WeChat forces you to add a location and will then verify it to make sure you’re telling the truth. As part of the app is location-based, it takes this aspect seriously. If you want to use WeChat without telling it where you live, I’ll show you those potential workarounds and then I’ll explain why the usual tricks don’t work.
The first thing to try is to manually add your location in Settings.
- Open WeChat and select the My Profile icon.
- Select, More, Region and add a different location.
As WeChat tries to verify your location at some point, this might work for a little while but probably not for long.
A Chinese forum had another fix that used an old version of the app to make the change.
- Uninstall your current version of WeChat.
- Download and install an older version from an internet archive. Version 4.2 or earlier.
- Set your fake or new location.
- Update the app to the newest version.
- The new install takes the location from the old app and runs with it.
I don’t know if this works or not as I couldn’t find an older version of the app. If you have more perseverance than me and fine one, tell us how it goes in the comments section. I would be interested to know.
How WeChat knows where you live
I don’t think the Chinese have a nefarious motive for wanting to know where you live or for circumventing the usual ways we have of spoofing your location. I just think that’s how their minds work, wanting absolutely accurate data and an acceptance by the population that it is normal. That has unfortunately translated to the west in our version of WeChat too.
Usually when a phone app wants to know where you are, it queries the phone OS through an API for a GPS location or IP address. The GPS location will tell the API where you are. IP addresses are allocated regionally and the phone will know an approximate location from the network’s IP database. The API then informs the app of that location.
When you spoof your location using a fake GPS app, the app replaces that API. When an app queries location, rather than talking directly to the OS, it talks to the fake GPS app instead. That app will then provide the querying app with any location you manually set.
WeChat is different. It doesn’t use a software query to interrogate the API. It apparently uses something called ‘BaiduLocationSDK’ which uses hardware abstraction layer queries instead of API queries. This means fake location apps or any other spoofing app will not work as BaiduLocationSDK works completely independently and talks directly to the GPS instead of through the API.
If you want to know more about how WeChat works with regards to GPS spoofing, check out this page on Stack Overflow where some very clever people discuss it in much more detail.
I must admit that I’m not comfortable with having my location tracked by an app and not be able to do anything about it. However, there are lots of other apps that do exactly the same thing so I guess I’ll keep my GPS turned off whenever I use my phone and just use it when I need it.
Do you know of any effective ways to fake your location in WeChat? Tell us about them below if you do!