Low GPS accuracy? Let's fix it!
To improve location accuracy please try following basic steps:
- First, make sure Location Services for the app (under Settings > Privacy) are turned to ‘While Using the App’ (‘Once’ will also work on iOS 13+).
- Be sure to be under the open sky and have unobstructed view of the sky. Wait for 10-20 seconds to give GPS receiver a chance to find enough satellites.
- Switch Location services OFF > and then ON. Switch Airplane mode ON and then OFF.
- If GPS accuracy stays low, try to restart iPhone. Read this article for instructions for your iPhone.
- Exclude interference sources: Try with no cables connected. Try outside of car.
Train or airplane?
- Please move iPhone as close to a window/illuminator as possible to give GPS receiver a better view of the sky.
- If it is a TGV/modern type of train, please note that they cover windows with a film that shields a lot of GPS signal away. Leaning iPhone just against the window should help.
- For UK, more information on GPS reception in different trains can be found here: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/best-seats-for-gps-reception.64342
Information in this section is often true for cruise/large ships as well.
WIFI only (non-cellular) iPad?
Please note that non-cellular iPads don’t have a GPS chip built-in. Same applies to iPods. To achieve a GPS level of location accuracy with them, you’d need to use one of the certified external GPS modules. These can be modules from Dual, BadElf or Garmin (Garmin GLO).
- Before any restarts or resets ahead, please visit your iPhone settings > General > Date & Time and check that “Set Automatically” is set to ON and also check correctness of the time zone.
- At this stage you should have given it a try with having no cables connected to your iPhone!
- It’s also a good idea to try it with a different app, some that reports on location accuracy.
If you still can’t get the apps to the good location accuracy:
You can start with a force restart (no data loss, just a kind of a deeper restart):
- Open your phone Settings > Privacy > Location Services and toggle the switch off.
- Perform a force restart on your iPhone. Read this article for instructions for your iPhone.
- Go back to phone Settings > Privacy > Location Services once again and switch it on.
If still no luck, consider resetting network services (you will need to re-enter your wifi passwords!):
- Turn off location services.
- Go to settings, general, reset and choose reset network settings.
- Once your phone network settings has reset go to settings, location services, turn it on.
And don’t forget that I’m available at email@example.com and I love to help!
At some point you might consider contacting your local cellular provider or Apple store/service in order to check the GPS component on your iPhone. Especially if you had iPhone’s battery replaced earlier by a non-certified service.
More on cables!
Here is what cables can cause. It’s not always about the cable, its more about what cable is connected to on the other side.
- Aftermarket cables can just simply cause interference with GPS antenna in the iPhone.
- Connection by cable to a car’s infotainment system may cause car’s GPS overriding iPhone’s location module data and causing havoc in location data reported or no data reported.
- Connection to certain power-outlets may cause interferences (like in some boats).
When you see any oddities when connected by cable, try with having all cables disconnected!
More on interferences!
Interferences can be caused by:
Remote tire pressure management systems.
GPS tracking systems in the car (SkyEye, etc).
Some car models are known to interfere with GPS in iPhone near certain places at dashboard.
To exclude any interference sources, take your iPhone outside and away of anything that may cause the interference (plus surely this should be the place under the open sky) and test the location accuracy. Getting to good location accuracy, try to exclude interference factors when back into car one by one.
In the car, it is often enough to move iPhone for as little as 10-15 cm to avoid interference. Experiment!
You can use built in Gps troubleshooting screen to help you with troubleshooting.