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Why is location wrong on iPhone and how to fix location services


Very often the iPhone gives an error with a description: “location wrong on iPhone” or “location not available”. In turn, when using navigation applications, such as Google Maps, iPhone thinks you are driving (when you are not). There can be many errors of this kind.

iPhone users often have issues with receiving GPS signal from the satellite. It happens regardless of the iOS version. As a result, Google Maps, Waze and other GPS dependent apps do not work, or the location is not indicated accurately.

Well, let's find out why iPhone won’t show the correct location and how to fix it. Let's start with the simplest solutions of the problem.

Table of Contents

Why is iPhone saying “location not available”

Although such an error can be directly related to the malfunction of the GPS module, you should not ignore iOS software errors. An incorrect date or an outdated navigation app can cause a location not available error. Here is the sequence of actions to fix the bug.

Step 1. Checking App Permissions and Location Settings

Incorrect navigation and location problems are caused by improperly set access permissions. For example, you have opened the Google Maps app and, when prompted by iOS, prohibited the app from using the location to work. As a result, the iPhone cannot access GPS satellites and therefore does not show your current location.

To determine the location correctly, allow the navigator to use Location Services. You can do this as follows:

  1. Open the iOS Settings.
  2. Go to Privacy -> Location Services.
  3. Find the navigation app you use. Tap on the corresponding menu bar.
  4. Grant the App permissions – the While Using the App option.
  5. Close the Settings.
  6. Restart the GPS navigation app.
  7. Check if Location Services work.

Step 2. Fixing Wrong Time on iPhone

There is no correlation between the accuracy of the set time / time zone with GPS, however it is necessary to check settings in the iPhone, so they correspond to your location. iOS users report that the incorrect location of the device is often due to wrong set time zone or time. The easiest way to fix GPS settings is to enable auto synchronization of time on iPhone.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to General > Date & Time
  1. Check the Set automatically checkbox.

You may have to restart iPhone to get the location correct.

Step 3. Updating GPS navigation app

If the GPS doesn't work in a certain application, it makes sense to update it. Perhaps an outdated code or iOS update has affected the fact that this app is working glitchily and does not "see" the GPS signal. By the way, if Google Maps or Waze thinks you are driving when you are not, go to the page of the problematic application in the App Store and read the latest user reviews - perhaps this situation happened not only to you.

To update the navigation software / maps on the iPhone, you can do the following:

  1. Go to the App Store.
  1. Open the Updates tab.

  2. Check for new versions for the applications that are experiencing problems.

  1. In Version history you can check whether the update resolves the GPS issue.

Most often, the problem with positioning and pedestrian mode selection is corrected after updating the application. If it did not happen after the above steps, try the methods of correction described below.

Step 4. Resetting GPS settings via iPhone

Let's assume that you have tried all the methods unsuccessfully and iOS says that location not available. In this case, the reset can fix all software errors in the current firmware at once and thus return the GPS module to a working condition.

Important. It is strongly advised to make a backup copy of the data on your phone via iTunes, Finder or iCloud (by copying files manually). If you don't make a backup - all files on your iPhone will be lost.

How to reset iPhone via Macbook / PC:

  1. Open iTunes app;
  2. Connect iPhone to your laptop / Macbook / PC via USB cable;
  3. Wait until iTunes detects the connected device;
  4. Select iPhone in the list;
  5. On the Summary tab, select Restore;
  6. Confirm the action;
  7. After resetting, the iPhone will reboot.

This method will help refresh your location on iOS.

Why does it say location not found

Step 1. Update iOS version on your iPhone

If your GPS was working consistently and suddenly stopped saying that location not found on map, your iOS version may have technical problems. Usually, the system update is automatic. The developers have made this process as convenient and unnoticeable to the user as possible. But sometimes there are bugs in the new software, for the "cure" of which, in most cases, it is enough to update the iOS version.

How to update iOS manually:

  1. Find the "General" item in the Settings.
  2. Tap on "Software Update" and wait. If there is an uninstalled version, your iPhone will find it.
  1. Tap "Install Now"
  1. Wait for the update to complete. Keep your iPhone on charge during the process.
  2. After rebooting, check that GPS works и ваше местоположение определяется на карте и ошибка location not found не появляется.

Step 2. Switch from mobile internet to WI-FI

If the GPS satellite connection is unstable or not available at all, iPhone receives information via Wi-Fi networks. This helps determine your location in areas where the radio signal is weak. To make this mode work, you just need to connect to an available network.

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Go to "Wi-Fi" and turn on the feature.
  1. Wait until the search for available networks finishes and select the desired one.
  2. Enter the password.
  3. After connecting to Wi-Fi, your iPhone determines your current location.

Why does iPhone location jumps around

Normally the location accuracy is about 20 meters for Google Maps. However, due to software errors, the error can exceed reasonable limits. This leads to the fact that the location marker is constantly jumping on the map and the user can not know exactly where he is. Accordingly, it is not possible to build a walking route. We suggest several ways to fix the error.

Step 1. Use another GPS app on iOS

Software bugs can occur in individual apps. Such bugs, as a rule, appear after updates. If GPS navigation does not work in the built-in maps or Google Maps, try to use another application.

To choose the best iPhone navigation apps, go [here] (/best-gps-navigation-app-ios-iphone).

Step 2. Fix mobile network settings

Your mobile carrier's settings may interfere with normal GPS operation. Typically, these are set automatically when you connect your phone to the network.

Sometimes this process may not go correctly. In this situation it is possible to reset current Network settings and establish new ones.

How to reset your network settings on iOS:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select the "General" option.
  3. Tap "Reset".
  1. Tap "Reset Geo Settings".

This will disable your location tracking permissions for all apps. You need to change the settings.

  1. In Settings, select "Privacy".
  1. Select Location Services.
  1. Give permissions to the desired applications.
  2. Go to "System Services" and make changes.

Step 3. Replacing the GPS module

If none of the methods worked, your iPhone may have a damaged GPS module. Unfortunately, even the most reliable equipment fails. Repairing the module will require money and time.

To find out the cost and solve the problem, you need to contact the Apple service. You can find the address of the centers in your city from the support service.

  1. Go to Get Support page
  2. Select the product that requires repair (photo 1 and 2).
  3. Select "Other issues" item (photo 3)
  4. Tap on "Maps" (photo 4)
  5. Tap continue (photo 5)
  6. Scroll below and select "Chat" (photo 6)
  7. Provide the serial number of your iPhone
  8. After contacting the Tech Support, ask for the Apple service center addresses in your city.

We recommend getting the addresses via the Official support page, as search engines are among the first to give the usual repair services.

Step 4. Replacing Refurbished iPhone with Original

The most unpleasant cause of a non-functioning GPS module is its absence. This happens if you bought a refurbished device.

Refurbished iPhone is a great opportunity to buy a working smartphone at a lower price, but only if the repair was done by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, the market is full of phones, which have been restored by third parties. The functionality of such devices is highly unpredictable.

You can check your iPhone for authenticity on the Apple website. To do this you will need the serial number of the device.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select the "General" option.
  3. Go to "About". The serial number consists of numbers and letters.
  1. This information is also listed on the box and on the SIM card slot.

Now it's worth comparing the numbers and letters of the number in these three places. They should be the same. If everything matches, go to Apple website and check the serial number if it is valid.

Backing up your iPhone files

Before making any changes, be sure to make a backup copy of all important files on the iPhone (when automatically updating, the smartphone itself makes a copy). To do this,

  1. Go to the Settings and choose your account.
  1. Tap on iCloud
  1. Scroll down to "Backup".
  1. Here you'll see the number and time of the last data backup, and just above that you'll see a "Back up Now" button. Tap on it.
  1. In case the update fails, you have the option to roll it all back.


Why won't my location services work?

Here are easy ways to fix this bug.

  1. Reboot: do a restart - simple software failures on your iPhone are usually resolved this way. Alternatively, turn your device off and on.

  2. Go to another location: the GPS signal may be undetectable or very weak at these coordinates.

iPhone location wrong – can i fix the issue?

First of all, follow the methods described in these instructions. If nothing worked, try to use the following tricks.

  1. Update iOS. Update is safe, performed in semi-automatic mode and comprehensively solves many problems which occurred in the old version of the mobile OS.

  2. You can solve hardware failure only through authorized service. Go to Apple Support Website and select the nearest service to contact. If you didn't cause the problem, you'll get your GPS fixed at no charge.

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.