Several users have reported that they are experiencing their iPhones’ and iDevices’ location services not working or they discover that their iPhone location’s not accurate.
As a reminder, your iPhone’s location services uses cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS data to determine your location.
- Quick Tips
- iPhone Location Not Correct? Check Your Apps
- Location Services Not Working Tips
- About your location during emergency calls
- Reader tips
Get Your Location Services Working Again
- Check that you do not have any Restrictions enabled
- Let your iOS set your Date & Time Automatically
- Check that both Location-Based Alerts and Location-Based Suggestions are toggled on in your System Services
- Reset your network settings
- Toggle Location Services Off, wait 20-30 seconds and toggle back on
- Toggle Background App Refresh on
- Always have both WiFi and Cellular Data on
- Reset All Settings
- Sign out of your Apple ID, restart, and then sign back in
- How to Fix Inaccurate Geotags on Your iPhone Photos
- Location Services Always ON? Here’s Why
- Customize Your Safari Privacy Options in iOS 11
iPhone Location Not Correct? Check Your Apps
Some apps may use this information (Maps, Siri, Safari, Camera, etc.is). For instance, Siri uses your location information to help you with your request.
If you are experiencing issues (e.g., Siri or Maps, does not know where you are), you may try the following troubleshooting tips to fix your problem.
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Location Services AND any apps that are enabled.
- If they are greyed out, check if you have any restrictions on. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions to check.
If your Photos aren’t showing accurate locations, check out this article
Improve Your iDevice’s GPS accuracy
GPS accuracy depends on the number of visible GPS satellites. Locating all visible satellites often takes several minutes.
Under usual circumstances, GPS accuracy increases over time.
So to improve GPS accuracy, try the following: make sure the date, time, and time zone are set correctly by going to Settings > General > Date & Time > Set Automatically.
Try to keep a clear view in several directions. Walls, vehicle roofs, tall buildings, mountains, and other obstructions often block line of sight to GPS satellites.
When this happens, your device uses WiFi or cellular networks to determine your position until the GPS satellites are visible again.
Location Services Not Working Tips
- Ensure that location services are set ON:
- iOS current-6: Settings > Privacy > Location Services
- iOS 5-4: Settings > Location Services
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (scroll all the way to the bottom) and tap it. Here make sure that Location-Based Alerts and Location-Based Suggestions are toggled ON
- Reset network settings
- Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
- Restart your iDevice (iPad, iPhone or iPod touch) by powering off and then back on
- Turn location services off and on again
Perform a Forced Restart
- On an iPhone 6S or below plus all iPads with home buttons & iPod Touches, press Home and Power at the same time until you see the Apple logo.
- For iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Side and Volume Down buttons for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo.
- On an iPhone X Series, iPad without a home button, or iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Then press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Finally, press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
Reset location and privacy
- Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy
- When you reset your location and privacy settings, apps stop using your location until you grant them permission
When Location Services is on, your iDevice periodically sends that geo-tagged location of nearby WiFi hotspots and cell towers to Apple to augment Apple’s crowd-sourced database of WiFi hotspot and cell tower locations.
So if you’re concerned about your privacy, set location services OFF or use it mindfully.
Turn on Background App Refresh For WiFi and Cellular
A reader discovered that if he toggled on Background App Refresh on and selected the option to use both wifi and cellular data, that his third-party map apps worked.
He also toggles WiFi on, even if there was no network to connect to.
Apparently, there is a problem with location services not updating within these third-party apps.
Toggling both WiFi and Background App Refresh seems to force location services to update.
The main downside is battery drain when the background app refresh is enabled for map apps using cellular data. So be mindful.
Reset All Your Device’s Settings
If nothing thus far helps, let’s reset all settings–this removes any changes and personalizations you made to your settings and features–things like wallpapers, accessibility settings, WiFi passcodes, and so forth.
It does not remove any data, so your photos, texts, and other documents and data remain.
But just in case some random setting is getting in the way of your location services, let’s return all your settings to their defaults.
To reset all settings, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.
About your location during emergency calls
For safety purposes, your iPhone’s location information may be used when you place an emergency call to aid response efforts regardless of whether you enable Location Services.
- Dennis discovered that signing out of his Apple ID worked for him. Go to Settings > Apple ID >scroll down and tap Sign Out. Then, open maps and it finds your location!
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.