My iPhone 4S is 2 years old. Today, the accuracy of the GPS is really bad. Before, it worked very well… I tried to restart but didn't help. Is there any way to know if this is a hardware error?

I also have an Android phone, and it has very good accuracy, so it isn't something "from above".

Is my phone coming to an end?

  • I'm a little weirded out by the fact that this is happening to two people plus me suddenly. My instance of this problem started about 12 hours ago (or before). I had it once before, don't recall what I did to resolve it, or if I did. For now, I'll wait and see what happens.
    – Mattie
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 23:52

6 Answers 6


I tried everything I could think of, but I eventually completely reset the phone and did not restore my old configuration. I started from new with my iPhone and now it is working fine.

  • I have exactly the same problem, since 2-3 days ago. For me, a new OS install worked out.
    – user70818
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 13:12
  • This would be my guess as to why most devices get incorrect location data. A wipe should clear any cached location points as well as free up the software and ensure it starts from a default configuration. I would probably test the GPS / location before restoring the backup to rule out a hardware failure, and then wipe/reload a second time. GPS hardware is basically an antenna that does accurate timing and most failures are software in this area.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:58

I would first suggest getting a new sim card from your carrier to rule out any issues on their end.

If this does not solve the issue, the Apple Store has an advanced hardware diagnostic utility which would easily diagnose such a problem.


iPhone uses three types of location search (from best to worst):

  • Satellite GPS signal
  • GSM positioning
  • Wi-fi networks around

It is possible that your GSM coverage is not very good or GSM base stations report location incorrectly or they report it in the way that the software does not interpret correctly.

I have iPad 2, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S at home. iPad 2 has the worse accuracy. It always missed by 100m at least. Next comes iPhone 4, it is more or less correct but not exactly at the point. iPhone 4S has the best accuracy among all my devices: nearly always at the right place. So it can be an issue with hardware too.

  • There is no problem with the network. I was talking about GPS, not triangulation. It seems a hardware problem, 2 days ago it was working fine, and other phones are working fine too.
    – otmezger
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 14:19
  • @otmezger That may be true, but like Dmitry said; iPhones simultaneously acquire their geolocation data via three separate mechanisms. Each one is a factor.
    – voices
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 16:38

I experienced this same problem on the 19th, from morning until night. It was mostly noticeable when using Maps for navigation; the arrow would go from blue to gray, I'd get frequent "Locating" messages, I'd get "stuck" for a mile or so until it would catch up.

I left my 4S off all night, and now it's accurate and smooth again. No resets of any configuration or data were performed.

The weather was clear yesterday; I think it shouldn't have affected GPS. I didn't seem to be having any phone network problems (Virgin mobile 3G CDMA was working fine). The problem persisted whether I was near Wi-Fi APs or not—a good deal of open country on my drive.

Because I can't observe enough in order to definitively answer the question, I must apologize that this isn't an answer per se, but if anyone does run into this again, try turning your phone off overnight, or perhaps even just waiting 24 hours.

  • 1
    Also good advice - the location service does mix several inputs that over time may clear up as bad inputs age out of the cache.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:59

Other solutions can fix "iPhone GPS not working" problem:

  • Reset Network Settings (Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings)
  • Reset Location & Privacy (Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy)
  • Ensure Location Services are ON (Settings > Privacy > Location Services > ON)
  • Restore from iTunes backup: restore your iPhone in iTunes with your iOS backup

Go to: Settings > general > reset > location and privacy.

Clears all the stored location cache and app privacy settings ie "allow this app to use location" question will pop up again for every app.

This fixed my problem without having to restore my phone to a new one.

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