I live in USA and took my VZW iPhone 5s to Scotland; I never purchased a SIM card to use there. I noticed that my iPhone pictures uploaded to Flickr have accurate location data associated with each picture. Example, I was walking around Edinburgh and taking pictures without WiFi/cell connection, but the images still display accurate location of where I took images.

How is that possible?

  • 1
    Even if you are not connected to a WiFi, there is still the cellular (telephone) towers somewhere in Edinburgh that can be used to determine your Location. If you turn on the Airplane mode, then no more location. – Ruskes Jan 10 '15 at 19:50

an iPhone has GPS - see Understanding privacy and Location Services on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 8

About location precision or accuracy
Depending on your device and available services, Location Services uses a combination of cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS to determine your location. If you're not within a clear line of sight to GPS satellites, your device can determine your location using crowd-sourced Wi-Fi5 and cell tower locations or iBeacons.

Apps that can show your location on the screen, including Maps, show your current (approximate) location using a blue marker. If your location can't be determined precisely, you'll see a blue circle around the marker. The size of the circle shows how precisely your location can be determined—the smaller the circle, the greater the precision.

When Location Services is active, a black or white arrow icon appears in the status bar.

Maps, directions, and location-based apps depend on data services. These data services are subject to change and might not be available in all geographic areas, resulting in maps, directions, or location-based information that might be unavailable, inaccurate, or incomplete. Compare the information provided on the device to your surroundings and defer to posted signs to resolve any discrepancies.

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