Most new iPhones have an extremely capable GPS module built into the device and it can turn out very useful in many situations such as when you need to use Google Maps for navigation or maybe just play Pokemon Go game.
One of my friend was on a Europe trip and realised that his iPhone has some issues using the Navigation app, it was urgent and there was no way he could figure out the problem. He gave me a call and I helped him troubleshoot the device which then fixed the problem for him.
Since it’s a fairly common issue that most of us face, here is an article for the same.
It shouldn’t be surprising if, like every other thing in an electronic gadget, GPS gets clumsy and unresponsive, causing a pain sometimes. Fortunately, you can just follow some basic steps to get it sorted, there are a number of troubleshooting steps that you can follow to help get your GPS to work properly.
Where could the problem lie?
With GPS there are several things that can go wrong, if it is not working properly or reports an outdated location then it could be because of one of the problems stated below.
- Maybe there is no GPS signal
- The GPS might not be updating your location
- The GPS could be showing a wrong location due to miscalculation
- Compass might be pointing in the wrong direction
- App might not be able to find your location
There might be a few other reasons depending on what the device is being used for while facing the error. It also depends on the app that was being used, in each app the error message for the same problem might be a little different and sometimes the error message might not appear at all making it all the more difficult to troubleshoot.
Some common fixes for iPhone GPS problems
There are several troubleshooting steps that you could try when the GPS in your iPhone fails or gives issues, it is recommended that you go through some or all of the steps below based on the issue that you are facing.
Make sure you have a good GPS signal
For GPS to work properly the device should have a good line of sight with the satellite, it is best recommended to have an unobstructed view of the sky which is however not possible at all times. However, make sure that you are not in a metal building, or somewhere else where it is difficult for the radio signals to penetrate through. If this is the case then you’ll have problems obtaining a strong GPS and the results might be unreliable in the app that you use, consider moving to an outdoor location with a better view of the sky to get a better GPS signal.
Make sure the app’s location permissions are set right
One very common issue that people face, is actually a minor software toggle. Most people forget to enable location services for a particular app. Assuming that the permissions for Maps or any other third party app that you use for navigation are not properly granted then the device will not be able to determine the location and pass it on to the app on the request.
To check if the permissions are properly granted open the Settings and open the Privacy Tab and tap on the Location Services option and make sure that location services are enabled for the app that you’re facing problems with.
There are typically three options presented when you select an app for location sharing services.
- Never: This completely disables the location sharing for the app at all times.
- While using the app: This enables the app to access the location when the app is open and in use
- Always: This gives access to the current location even if the app is closed or running in the background, do note that this can significantly drain the battery of the device.
Try to refresh the location services
Sometimes the problem might just be with the software in the form of a minor glitch, in such a case the problem can be fixed by just turning the location services off and then turn it on again.
To do that fire up the Settings app and the open the Privacy tab and open the Location Services page to toggle the Location services off and then turn it on again.
You can also turn on the Aeroplane Mode on and the turn it off again from the Control Center to turn off all the wireless radios and then turn them on again.
Reset all location data
If the above few basic tweaks turned futile then you might have a problem with the device’s location information that was saved before. It’s not very evident if this is the problem, but when it is, it can cause problems with the GPS and cellular connections.
To fix these issues you can reset the network data by going to the Settings and then opening the General page. Now choose the Reset option from here and then tap on the Reset Location & Privacy button to reset the network settings.
This should prompt you with the device passcode each time you tap on the reset button, and after authenticating with your password the device should completely erase information which is related to the network and the location settings.
It is recommended to clear both the network and location information as most devices use WiFi and cellar information to triangulate the location instead of relying on the GPS signal alone.
Post this step you will have to go back to the settings to manually reconfigure all the Wi-FI networks and other network based settings like APN in case you had configured a different one before. In most cases, this should solve the issue and your GPS should be back and running in all its glory.
Restore the device
As a last resort when every other fix fails, sometimes the only options is going full fledge and just start over. If all the previous steps didn’t give you any positive results then you should certainly try restoring the device via iTunes.
To do this, connect the concerned device to a Mac or a PC with iTunes and select the device in the iTunes application and then choose the Restore option. Then confirm the same and setup the device as new when the restore completes.
After trying these steps, we hope that at least one of them must have worked for you, let us know in the comments below about which step worked for you best. Also, if you’ve come across any other troubleshooting steps that you think might be of good use to the users, let us know in the comments below so that we can include it in the guide.
If all the above steps fail and give no positive results then the best thing to do is to contact Apple for support as it might be a hardware issue that is causing the problem.