I just got my iPhone 5, and I deactivated my iPhone 4. I am wondering if I can keep my iPhone 4 as a iPod that I run with. Question is can, my Nike+ app still accurately track my runs?

I would much rather continue using my iPhone 4 running equipment (special case, armband, etc) instead of going to buy new stuff.

1 Answer 1


Yes, the GPS does not need cellular data or cellular service to work. It will get better results when GPS is offline if it can poll the location database and trilateralate from both Wi-Fi and cellular towers, but GPS is generally better than the these secondary sources of location data.

The phone should connect to Wi-Fi regularly to keep the location database up to date - perhaps while tethered to your iPhone 5 for optimal results.

For most situations it will work almost as if it were connected to cellular data and the cellular data switch was off.

  • I've been under the impression that the wifi location database is queried every time it's needed, rather than keeping a copy of the DB cached on the device. Also, in my own experience, I've used an iPhone - can't remember whether it was my 4 or my old 3G - as a GPS device without any cellular service or wifi, and it worked but not well. It was fine once it found the satellites but this process took at least a minute and often failed.
    – gabedwrds
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 2:39
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    The iOS devices do cache location databases. Here's a link to an article explaining the details of how this is accomplished. This press release of course is reaction to the hullabaloo when the code to clear the cache wasn't actually working and some devices were discovered to be not deleting all of the cell tower location data points. Your observations would certainly be true if you didn't have a good data connection to download a subset of the location database or you turned off location services.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 3:01
  • Ah, yes, I remember playing with the app that pulled that file out of a backup and turned it into a map of where you'd been. I'd forgotten about that. I thought it only cached the specific access points it had seen, not a general DB of the area. You're right.
    – gabedwrds
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 3:10

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