The implementation of iOS 10 has brought a number of new changes and significant improvement to a wide selection of iDevices. It has also addressed existing issues that were triggered by certain bugs including GPS problems affecting some iPhone and iPad models. But for some reasons, this iOS update was not able to completely rectify the main problem as some iPhone users still complained about GPS errors even after installing the iOS 10 platform on their respective devices. Even some users of the new iPhone flagship device, the iPhone 7 have also encountered the same trouble with the iPhone GPS. Among the common issues that have been raised would include but not limited to GPS that is not working properly, showing inaccurate location or wrong directions. What could have possibly caused the iPhone 7 GPS to show these symptoms and how to deal with them? To find out the answer to these questions, I encourage you to read on.
Possible causes of GPS problems on your iPhone 7?
It is just too bad that even such a powerful iPhone can succumb into this kind of problem given that GPS is deemed among the most important smartphone features to date. Ever since the integration of the first GPS feature in high-tiered mobile devices, many people are relying much on their smartphones when getting directions to get to a certain place or driving destination. Seeing the increasing demand of GPS and location services in the mobile market, device manufacturers considered this among the key features to cater or enhance in the following device and iOS releases. In fact, the GPS feature is constantly getting better and better in every new iPhone and iOS software version rolled out by Apple. But despite the advanced GPS technology embedded into these iOS devices, minor and major flaws still managed to exist due to certain factors.
The iPhone 7 integrates a GPS chip with advanced GPS technology. But due to network issues, software bugs, or bad updates, the iPhone’s GPS feature has become susceptible to errors. Even other environmental factors like tall buildings, trees, high terrains or infrastructures can also affect the GPS function on the iPhone as they can obstruct the signal between the phone and the GPS satellite or network tower.
To help you get a clearer view on how these factors can affect the iPhone’s GPS and cause GPS and location services errors, here’s a quick explanation.
- Network problems and errors – when the iPhone gets poor reception or low signal strength, there is a higher chance that GPS-enabled apps and other relevant services won’t work as intended. Why? Simply because a strong and stable network connection is necessary for GPS or navigation apps to work properly in your phone. In this case, expect the GPS or map services to become a bit erratic or inconsistent. Network outages and other surrounding obstructions are the common reasons at to why your iPhone 7 is not able to acquire a decent network reception.
- Software glitches/bugs – you can consider the possibility of a software bug causing the iPhone GPS to become erratic if the problem is isolated to an application. For example, the issue occurs only when using a GPS-enabled app like Waze, Pokemon Go, and the like. Usually minor bugs can be rectified by restarting the troubled app or if not, rebooting the iPhone itself. However, there are also other cases where the bug is tough enough to withstand a reboot, and thus require a more advanced solution.
- Faulty updates – apps updates or even iOS updates can also contain some bugs that can corrupt or affect the iPhone services including GPS. This is inevitable and in fact, many iPhone users have been raising post-update issues including those affecting maps and location services. While most of these problems can be resolved by certain workarounds, others would need to consider downgrading or restoring to a previous iOS backup.
- Settings restrictions – another possible reason as to why you may be having some troubles using the iPhone 7 GPS is due to some restrictions. Settings some restrictions to location services like turning off location services for certain apps due to privacy or security reasons can be the reason why a GPS-enabled app does not work as intended. Your iPhone has settings and options for you to configure to control which apps to use location data.
- Physical or liquid damage – this is the worst among the possible causes and usually the case if there were previous incidents of dropping or liquid exposure, which has eventually caused damage to the GPS chip. Unfortunately, GPS problems that are hardware-related already require a technician’s touch for fixing.
Recommended Solutions and Workarounds to deal with GPS errors on iPhone 7
Considering that the problem is software-related and no damage to the iPhone’s GPS chip, you still can do something to resolve the underlying cause and fix the problem on your end. In order to get started, try to determine the possible cause and then work on it. For example, if the problem occurs on a GPS app like Pokemon Go, think of when and how it started. This means you need to think of what happened before the onset of the problem. Did you make some changes to the app’s settings or options or install new updates or contents? Using this approach can help you narrow down the issue and obtain quick solution. But if you really couldn’t figure out the root cause, then you can try the subsequent solutions and workarounds that are used to address GPS issues on the iPhone. Don’t forget to test your iPhone or GPS app after performing each workaround to determine whether or not the problem has been fixed. Try other applicable solutions if necessary.
First Solution: Check GPS-related settings on your iPhone
Location Services, Airplane mode, date and time, Wi-Fi or cellular network settings must be considered among the first things to check when dealing with GPS problems and pertinent errors. Here’s how to access and configure these options on your iPhone 7.
- Location services – To verify settings for location services, go to Settings-> Privacy-> Location Services. Make sure that location services is turned on. If not, toggle the switch to enable the feature. You can also enable location services for specific applications.
- Airplane mode – To check Airplane mode settings, go to Settings-> Airplane Mode or access the Control Center then tap the Airplane mode icon to turn it on or off. Typically, Airplane mode needs to be turned off for location services to work properly on your iPhone. So be sure it’s set to off.
- Date and time – To verify and configure date and time settings on your iPhone 7, go to Settings-> Date & Time-> then choose Set Automatically. Doing so will set automatic date and time settings on your device. Again, for GPS-enabled apps to work properly, your device needs to have the correct date and time.
- Network signal or reception – network is a key requisite for maps and other GPS tools to work on your device. This means that your iPhone must have good to excellent signal or network reception. If a network problem is present, you will need to deal with the network issue first and once you fixed it, the GPS should be working as well.
Second Solution: Restart the app or soft reset your iPhone 7
Most device issues that are software-related or caused by minor bugs and corrupted files can be remedied by a restart on the troubled app. If that won’t work, restarting the device might be necessary. If the problem occurs only to a certain app, try to quit the app and then open it again. Doing so will rectify the glitch and give the app a fresh start. If that won’t do any good, try to perform a soft reset on your iPhone 7 instead.
- To do so, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone until the slider appears. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely. Wait for about 30 seconds and then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears. Your iPhone will then reboot.
When the reboot is complete, test your iPhone GPS and then see if it is already working fine this time.
In the case where the GPS-enabled app gets stuck and the iPhone display is not unresponsive, you can do a force restart instead. It does the same result with the soft reset.
- To force your iPhone 7 to restart, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Volume Down button simultaneously for a few seconds and release both buttons when the Apple logo appears. The iPhone then reboots.
Both the soft reset and force restart won’t affect any data on your device so there’s no need to fear of losing personal information on your iPhone 7.
Third Solution: Change network bands
There are some cases where the iPhone GPS failed to work with LTE network. While this can be an isolated issue, other users found a link between GPS and network selection as they managed to resolve the problem by changing the network from LTE to 3G. Thus, you might as well consider giving this workaround a try on your end and see what happens.
- To do so, go to Settings-> Cellular-> Data Options-> Voice & Data-> then select 3G from the given options. After making changes to the data options settings, restart your iPhone then try to see if GPS is already working fine.
Fourth Solution: Reset Network Settings on your iPhone 7
Should the problem is caused by a network glitch that is associated with incorrect network settings configuration, resetting the network on your iPhone 7 might be the key solution. Doing so will erase your current network settings including Wi-Fi password, SSID and APN settings and then restore them to default options. Any errors on the network settings will also be erased in the process. That being said, take note of your Wi-Fi password and server information before you proceed.
- To reset network settings on your iPhone 7, go to Settings-> General-> Reset-> Reset Network Settings. Wait until the iPhone completes the network reset. If necessary, restart your iPhone after the network is reset.
Fifth Solution: Update to the latest iOS version
The iPhone 7 originally comes with iOS 10. A series of new updates have been released since then. If you haven’t updated your iOS yet, then you should consider doing it now. Updates contain fixes to certain bugs affecting iOS devices along with other new features and enhancements. It is recommended to keep your iOS software up-to-date to keep your device optimized.
- To do so, head over to Settings-> General-> Software Update. If an update is available, back up your iPhone for safekeeping purposes. You can backup through iCloud or iTunes. Once you’ve created a backup of your device, follow the onscreen instructions to complete the iOS download and installation process.
The iOS 11 beta versions are now available, so you might as well consider giving it a try. Just head over to the Apple Support page and refer to the given suggest on the iOS 11 beta registration process to become part of the program.
Fifth Solution: Master reset or factory reset
This is an optional solution and should only be considered the last resort should all else failed to fix any software-related issues on the iPhone including those with GPS apps and other related services. A master reset or factory reset will wipe your iPhone completely so all your personal information and customized contents will be erased in the process. It could take long for the reset to finish depending on the number of contents stored on your phone. All sorts of bugs or major glitches on the software including those that caused the GPS to become erratic will also be eradicated in this reset. It’s worth a try but be sure to backup your iPhone before you start.
Should you wish to continue with a factory reset, backup your device and proceed with these steps:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Reset.
- Select Erase All Content and Settings.
- If prompted, enter the correct passcode for your device to continue.
Wait until the reset is complete and then set up your iPhone as new.
You can also perform a master reset or factory reset using iTunes. In fact, it is often recommended to use iTunes over iPhone settings menu when performing these operations. To continue with this option, you will need to secure a computer either Windows or Mac that has the latest version of iTunes program installed. Once you have the computer ready, continue with these steps:
- Connect your iPhone 7 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 7 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 the reset. When it’s done, your iPhone will restart. After the restart, you can set up your iPhone as new.
Seek More Help
If none of these methods is able to fix the problem and your iPhone 7 GPS is still not working or inconsistent, then you should consider escalating the issue to your network carrier or Apple Support. These people can likely offer a more advanced solution with the appropriate troubleshooting tool. But in the case where you suspect the hardware is to blame, you may take your iPhone to an authorized service center instead and have it checked by a technician instead. You should do the latter especially if you previously got your iPhone wet or dropped.