Having GPS issues on your iPhone? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many iPhone users have experienced GPS malfunctions and inaccuracies at some point. A non-working GPS can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you rely on navigation and location services regularly.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through how to troubleshoot and fix the most common iPhone GPS problems. You’ll also learn what causes the GPS to stop working on iPhone, as well as some preventative best practices.
Whether your Maps app can’t find your location, Google Maps has inaccurate positioning, or your navigation apps fail to provide directions, the solutions below will get your iPhone GPS working properly again.
Why Does iPhone GPS Stop Working?
Before diving into the fixes, it’s helpful to understand the root causes of the issue. Here are the most common reasons the GPS fails on iPhone models:
- Software bugs and iOS issues – Apps freezing, an iOS update causing problems, or system-level software glitches can all disrupt GPS functionality.
- Incorrect date & time settings – If your date & time settings are manually set wrong, it will throw off GPS location.
- Weak cellular signal – Poor cell tower connections mean your GPS can’t pinpoint your precise location accurately.
- Hardware problems – Physical damage or malfunctioning components like the GPS receiver could be at fault.
- Outdated apps – Using old versions of Maps, Waze, Google Maps or other location-based apps can lead to problems.
- Privacy settings – If Location Services are disabled on your iPhone or for certain apps, the GPS won’t work.
Now let’s look at the top ways to get your iPhone GPS working properly again based on the underlying issue.
10 Solutions to Fix iPhone GPS Not Working
1. Check Location Services Settings
The first thing to check is whether Location Services are enabled both for your iPhone overall and for the specific apps you’re having problems with. Here’s how to verify the settings are configured correctly:
- Open Settings > Privacy > Location Services
- Ensure the overall switch at the top is in the ON position
- Scroll down to the apps with GPS issues and check they are set to “While Using the App” or “Always Allow“
This rules out any permission issues stopping GPS from working in apps.
2. Ensure Correct Date & Time Settings
If your date and time settings are manual rather than automatic, double check that the timezone, date, and time are all precisely set. Inaccuracies here are a common source of GPS issues.
To change the settings:
- Go to Settings > General > Date & Time
- Toggle “Set Automatically” to ON
- If keeping it manual, carefully adjust Time Zone, Date, and Time
Your iPhone should pull the correct details from the network once automatic setting is enabled.
3. Reset Network Settings
Resetting all network settings often resolves GPS connectivity problems and improves location accuracy issues. It’s an easy fix to try with no risk of data loss.
On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will reset Wi-Fi networks, cellular settings, VPNs, and more, so you’ll need to reconnect afterwards.
4. Update Apps
Make sure you have the latest versions of Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, and any other mapping/navigation apps. Bug fixes, performance improvements, and GPS optimizations are added in app updates.
To update apps:
- Open the App Store
- Tap your profile icon at the top right
- Scroll down to see pending app updates and tap “Update” next to each
Updating to resolve GPS issues is most effective after also doing an iOS update (see next section).
5. Update iOS Software
Apple releases incremental iOS updates to address bugs, security flaws, and enhance features. It’s a good idea to keep your iPhone up-to-date to ensure GPS works reliably.
To update iOS:
- Open Settings > General > Software Update
- Download and install any available updates
Major iOS version updates are more likely to fix GPS problems than minor point releases.
6. Reset Location & Privacy
If Location Services are enabled but your iPhone GPS still can’t find your location accurately, try resetting all location and privacy settings back to factory defaults:
- Go to Settings > General > Reset
- Tap Reset Location & Privacy
This will clear location access permissions for all apps, so you’ll need to re-enable them afterwards. Often this refresh resolves elusive GPS issues.
Also read: how to change iPhone location without jailbreak.
7. Restart or Force Restart iPhone
Before any major troubleshooting, always start with the classic reboot! Restarting your iPhone refreshes the memory and clears any small glitches.
- Hold the Side Button and either Volume Button until the power off slider appears. Slide to turn off.
- After the device fully powers down, hold the Side Button again until the Apple logo appears.
To force restart:
- iPhone 8 or earlier – Hold Power + Home buttons together
- iPhone X or later – Hold Volume Up + Volume Down + Side buttons together
Try testing GPS after a standard restart. Forced restart is a last resort but can jar stuck processes loose.
8. Reset Your iPhone
For persistent issues not resolved by any other method, wiping your iPhone and restoring to factory settings is the nuclear option. This will erase all data so you must backup first.
Then restore using either iTunes or Finder:
- Connect iPhone to computer > Open iTunes / Finder
- Click your device icon > Summary (iTunes) or General (Finder)
- Tap Restore iPhone – this will install the current iOS version
Once your device is reset up, download apps and reconfigure settings. With fresh software, the GPS has the best chance of working again.
9. Get Phone Serviced
If restoring still doesn’t fix GPS problems, there may be a hardware defect causing the issue. Contact Apple Support about your GPS troubleshooting steps. They can run diagnostics and determine if a component needs replacement.
Common iPhone parts impacting GPS:
- GPS receiver
- Wi-Fi/cellular antenna
- Logic board
Repairs for confirmed hardware issues will get your GPS fully functional again.
10. Upgrade Your iPhone
Sometimes aging iPhones that have received many iOS updates and been heavily used start developing GPS issues that can’t be resolved through any fixes.
In those cases, the most reliable option is simply to upgrade your iPhone model entirely. The latest iPhones have much more accurate and reliable GPS hardware.
Trade in your old iPhone or sell it to help offset the cost of upgrading.
If you like, you may click to learn more about other GPS Tracker apps to track phones without them knowing.
Key Takeaways and Recommendations
- Don’t overlook basic steps like restarting, ensuring correct date & time, or updating iOS – they can quickly resolve many GPS problems
- Always keep apps updated and verify Location Services permissions haven’t changed
- When troubleshooting, reset network settings and location/privacy before extreme measures like restoring
- Hardware failure is uncommon but can prevent GPS working reliably even after software fixes
- Back up your iPhone before resetting or restoring to avoid losing data
- Stay current on major iOS updates for critical GPS bug fixes and improvements
- If all else fails, replacing a very old iPhone with a new model is the best long-term solution
Following this guide, most users should be able to get their iPhone GPS fully operational again quickly. But if you’ve tried all recommended fixes with no success, contact Apple support or take your device to an Apple Store for assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is my iPhone GPS not accurate?
A: Weak cellular signal, incorrect date/time, old iOS version, or hardware damage can all degrade location accuracy. Try the solutions in this guide.
Q: How can I improve GPS signal on iPhone?
A: Reset network settings, ensure location access is allowed for apps, update iOS version, and switch off Wi-Fi/Bluetooth when using GPS.
Q: What does “GPS signal not found” mean on iPhone?
A: This error occurs when the iPhone can’t obtain your GPS coordinates from satellites due to connection issues. Check for antenna damage or try the network reset fix.
Q: Can I use Apple Maps without GPS?
A: Yes, but navigation features will be limited. You can still search locations and view map data without GPS, but not get turn-by-turn directions.
Q: Should I take my iPhone to Apple if GPS isn’t working?
A: If you’ve exhausted all the DIY troubleshooting tips without success, make a Genius Bar appointment. Apple can diagnose if hardware repair is needed.
Q: Does Low Power Mode affect iPhone GPS?
A: Yes, Low Power Mode can interfere with GPS accuracy. Disable it for optimal performance when using navigation or other location-based apps.
Q: Why does my iPhone GPS work in some apps but not others?
A: Check that Location Services permissions are enabled for the specific apps having issues. Toggle them off and back on to reset.
Q: How can I boost GPS signal strength on my iPhone?
A: Try moving outdoors or closer to windows, disable Wi-Fi, and turn off Bluetooth to maximize cellular GPS signal strength.
Q: Is there a software fix for Hardware GPS failure on iPhone?
A: Unfortunately no, a hardware GPS failure requires Apple service for repair. Software fixes only resolve software-based issues.
I hope this rewritten and expanded iPhone GPS troubleshooting guide is now a comprehensive, valuable resource for your readers! Please let me know if you would like me to modify or add anything.