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GPS, Location Services Not Working on Apple iPhone SE, how to fix [Troubleshooting Guide]

When Apple rolled out the iOS 8 platform for selected iPhone and iPad devices, several iPhone owners had encountered problems with the GPS and location services. According to some users, their iPhone GPS is giving wrong or inaccurate directions, prompting errors to location services and map apps, and worst, not working at all. The same problems have manifested with the implementation of iOS 9.3 and later versions.

Although many people put the blame on a faulty update to iOS, others found no connection between software update and GPS problems on their iPhones. Apparently, there are other factors that can trigger minor and major flaws to arise on the iPhone GPS and location services. These factors, along with some suggested solutions are highlighted in this post. If you happen to come across this page while searching for possible solutions to similar issues on the iPhone SE GPS services, I encourage you to read further and get help.

Now, before we proceed with our troubleshooting, if you have other concerns with your new iPhone SE, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already published some guides and tutorials. You may also contact us by completing our iPhone issues questionnaire. This is a free consultation servicer we offer and all we need is information about the problem. So please give us that so that we can help you better. 

What causes GPS problems to occur on your iPhone SE?

Smartphones are now being used by many people as primary tool for navigation like driving and getting turn-by-turn directions, to help them reach their destinations without being lost. This is made possible with the advanced GPS technology embedded into each of these mobile devices. The iPhone SE for example, which integrates an assisted GPS and GLONASS technology, digital compass, Wi-Fi, Cellular, and iBeacon micro-location will help you get to where you wanted in no time. But that is if and only if nothing goes wrong with the GPS chip and device software.

Cell phones in general used trilateration to carry out GPS functions such as determining exact location. GPS-enabled devices draw a sphere around each of three accessible satellites in conjunction with information on the phone’s signal.

There are many factors that can affect GPS functions on your iPhone SE. Network issues, software bugs, faulty updates, and damaged GPS chip are among the common culprits. Other environmental factors can also trigger some issues to arise like tall buildings, trees, mountains, or other things that can obstruct the line of sight between the phone and the GPS satellite or network tower. Here’s how each of these factors can affect the GPS and location services on your iPhone SE.

  • Network or signal issues. Poor or no reception on the iPhone can likewise result to GPS-enabled apps and pertinent services to become dysfunctional sometimes. One of the requisites for GPS or navigation apps to work as intended is strong and stable network connection. Without it, problems and errors would likely manifest. Network outages or possible obstructions that may have barred your device from getting a decent network signal or reception should be checked first when dealing with troubles using the iPhone’s GPS.
  • Software bugs. It is inevitable for any app to get bugged and glitch randomly. Usually, bugs from corrupted files can cause the GPS app to become erratic or stop working properly. Often times, these problems are remedied by a simple reboot but tough bugs already require a fix patch through iOS update.
  • Faulty updates. While updates are primarily designed to optimize and enhance features on the device, they too can contain some bugs that can cause an app to misbehave upon implementation of the update. Some of these problems can be resolved by doing certain workarounds. Usually, users would resort to downgrading iOS (restore from previous iOS backup) or update to the latest iOS version available.
  • Location services restrictions. Settings some restrictions to location services on your iPhone SE is also a possible cause. Turning off location services for privacy and security reasons, control which apps to use location data, or save battery is likely causing you this same trouble.
  • Hardware damage. This is the worst possible cause you should consider especially if there were previous incidence of dropping or liquid exposure on the iPhone. It could be that the GPS chip was damaged from getting wet or drop.

How to deal with GPS problems on your iPhone SE?

Now that you already have a hint on the possible causes, try to determine the trigger problem on your end then start working from there. For example, you are getting errors when playing Pokemon Go on your iPhone due to poor reception or no signal issue. In that case, you have to deal with network issues first. You can also refer to any of the subsequent solutions and workarounds to resolve the underlying cause. Be sure to test your device after completing each step to determine whether the problem has been fixed. If not, try the next applicable solutions. So here are a few potential solutions you can try on.

Before troubleshooting, try to check pertinent features and settings on your iPhone SE. Location services, Airplane Mode, Date and Time, Wi-Fi or Cellular network settings are among the things you need to consider checking when dealing with device issues including GPS errors.

  • Location services – verify and ensure that location services is enabled on your iPhone SE. To check, navigate to  then toggle the switch to turn the feature on.Settings-> Privacy-> Location Services->
  • Airplane mode – for some reasons, other users were able to find a remedy by toggling Airplane mode on or off. If you would want to give this a try, be sure to turn it OFF in the end. Location services won’t work with Airplane mode enabled on the device.
  • Date and Time settings – incorrect date and time settings can result GPS-enabled apps to show incorrect or inaccurate locations and directions. Just like other connectivity features, GPS also requires the device to have proper date and time settings. To check, head over to Settings-> Date & Time-> then select Set Automatically from the given options. Doing so will set automatic date and time on your iPhone.
  • Network signal or reception errors – if there something wrong with the network, relevant services like GPS tools and navigation apps might as well not work as intended on your device. That being said, you have to fix the network beforehand.

Solutions and Workarounds to deal with GPS problems and location errors  

First solution: Reboot your iPhone.

Should the problem is triggered by minor glitches on the software or GPS application, performing a soft reset or reboot on your iPhone can potentially fix it. The process won’t affect any data on your iPhone, thus it is safe. Here’s how it’s properly done:

 

  • To do so, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone until the slider shows. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears.

 

Wait until your iPhone completes the reboot process. Afterwards, try to check if GPS is already working fine.

In the case where your iPhone becomes unresponsive as the GPS app gone rogue, a  force restart would be an option. Similar to a soft reset, no data will be affected in the process thus it is safe as well.

 

  • To force restart, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons simultaneously for at least 10 seconds and then release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

 

Your iPhone then reboots. Once the reboot completes, check the GPS and see if it is working fine now.

Second solution: Switch to other network bands available other than LTE.

This workaround has helped other iPhone users who have dealt with the same GPS issues on their respective device. What they did was turn off LTE and select 3G as their network band. Here’s how it works:

 

  • Tap Settings.
  • Scroll to and tap Cellular.
  • Tap Data Options.
  • Tap Voice & Data.
  • Tap to select 3G.

 

After setting the network to 3G, reboot your iPhone then try to see if GPS is already working with 3G network set.

Third solution: Reset network settings.

Problems like this can also be due to messed up network settings or misconfigured network settings and a reset on the network settings can be a potential solution. Be sure to note though that network information such as Wi-Fi networks and passwords will be erased in the process as the network settings are restored to defaults. That being said, be sure to take note of this information before you proceed with these steps:

 

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Tap Reset.
  • Select Reset Network Settings.

 

Wait until the iPhone complete the network reset then restart your device.

Fourth solution: iOS update installation

If you haven’t done it yet, then you should consider updating your iPhone SE to the latest iOS version available. Doing so will eliminate bugs and corrupted files that might have caused the iPhone GPS to become erratic. Here’s how to check for available software update on your iPhone SE.

 

  • Head over to Settings-> General-> Software Update.

 

If an update is available, backup your iPhone. When the backup is finished, proceed by tapping the option to Download and Install or Install Now.

Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the iOS update process then set up your device for use.

Fifth solution (optional): Factory reset

This should only be considered the last resort especially if none of the aforesaid workarounds is able to fix the problem. As the name implies, a factory reset will wipe or erase your iPhone completely and restore it to factory defaults afterwards. It’s an effective solution to software-related issues in mobile device that could not be remedied by any of applicable workarounds. Given that all your contents will be deleted in the process, be sure to backup your iPhone before you begin.

You can do a factory reset through your iPhone settings or through iTunes.

 

  • To perform a factory reset through the iPhone Settings menu, go to Settings-> General-> Reset-> Erase All Content and Settings.

 

You may be prompted to enter a passcode to proceed and complete the reset process.

To perform a factory reset using iTunes, secure a computer (Windows or Mac) that runs the latest version of iTunes and then follow these steps:

 

  • Connect your iPhone SE to the computer using the supplied USB cable/connector.
  • If prompted, enter the correct passcode for your device or select the option to Trust This Computer.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Select your iPhone SE from the list of devices in iTunes.
  • Navigate to the Summary section then click Restore [device].
  • Click Restore again to confirm action.

 

Wait for iTunes to complete erasing your device and installs the latest iOS platform.

After the iPhone restores to factory settings, it will restart.

Seek More Help

If the problem persists or your iPhone SE GPS is still not working properly , contact your service carrier or Apple Support to escalate your concern and request further assistance or recommendations. Alternatively, you can just take your iPhone straight to an authorized service center for hardware assessment, should you suspect a physical or liquid damage is present causing the GPS chip to malfunction.

Connect with us

Visit our troubleshooting page to view more solutions to other iPhone problems we have addressed in our prior posts. If you wish to reach our iOS support team for further assistance, then you may do so by filling up this form with all the required information. Be sure to provide us with the significant details of the issue that you need help with so we would be able to give you the best possible solutions and recommendations to try on.

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