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Troubleshooting: iPhone GPS Not Working

written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 12/17/2010

Don't assume your iPhone GPS problem is hardware related, read our article to troubleshoot and possibly repair your iPhone GPS. Many iPhone GPS issues are software related and they can be fixed with a few simple and basic steps, we guide you through those steps here.

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    GPS and the iPhone

    If the iPhone GPS is not working and you need to know to fix it, you've come to the right place. Many people overlook just how usefuliPhone Maps Icon  the iPhone GPS is until it's broken.

    The iPhone GPS is used for much more than just maps and navigation, it ties into many of your favorite applications and can even be used in some games such as MyTown (MyTown Tips and Tricks Here). When your GPS stops functioning, it greatly impedes the use of your iPhone in many ways, while some may never notice, others will be very bothered.

    Common problems with the GPS include both hardware and software issues. Many times jailbroken and unlocked users experience issues with their iPhone GPS, especially with the UltraSn0w 1.2 (iOS 4.0, 4.1, 4.2.1) unlocks on the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It is not uncommon for the iPhone GPS to stop functioning.

    This guide will provide you with some basic troubleshooting steps and also what you can do to fix your iPhone GPS, even if your iPhone is jailbroken. Bear in mind, that sometimes the issue is hardware related and no article is going to be able to fix a hardware related issue for you.

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    Hard Reset

    The first potential fix for the iPhone GPS problem is to do a hard reset. While this may seem basic, it is always best to start with theiPhone Reset basics before tearing your iPhone apart. To do a hard reset follow these steps:

    1. Hold down the power button. Press the power button and hold it down. Quickly press the home button at the same time, without releasing the power button.
    2. Wait. Continue holding both the home and the power button, do not release either. The iPhone will reset and flash back to the Apple logo, once it does, release both the home and the power button.
    3. Try the GPS. Once the iPhone boots back to the home screen, try the GPS again. Do not just try it with Google Maps, try a different application to eliminate the possibility of a software issue.
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    Next Steps

    Sometimes it may seem to be a hardware issue when it is actually an issue with the iOS software. Updating your iOS or changing or doing a complete restore may seem pointless, however, it has fixed much greater issues than the GPS not working in the iPhone problem. Consider updating to the latest version of the iOS using iTunes and try the GPS again.

    If the GPS is still not functioning, you are likely looking at a hardware problem. If the iPhone is still under warranty or if you have Apple Care, you can get it exchanged for little or no cost. If not, you will need to pay Apple to exchange the iPhone or take it to an independent shop. The price varies greatly depending on the location and cost of the hardware component (it may be several possible hardware components causing the issue).

    If your iPhone GPS stopped functioning after a jailbreak or unlock, please read on to find out why.

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    Jailbroken iPhone GPS Issues

    Many users have reported GPS issues with jailbroken (information about Jailbreaking) and unlocked iPhones. There are many different reasons and for earlier versions of the iOS there are fixes available in Cydia, simply search for "GPS". Installing these fixes will often restore GPS functionality.

    Users whom have upgraded to the 6.15 iPad baseband to unlock their iPhone 3 and 3GS may have also noticed the GPS stopped working. This is a known issue with UltraSn0w 1.2 and the 6.15 baseband. While the developers have not released a fix at this time, they have noted that they are aware.

    We personally found success in restoring GPS functionality by downgrading the iOS versions to 3.1.3 (while keeping the 6.15 baseband to unlock). This method works on the iPhone 3G without SHSH blobs, however, the 3GS would need SHSH blobs to downgrade. Consider downgrading to restore GPS functionality, this has been reported by many to work although some still suffer from no GPS. Until the official fix for the GPS issue is announced, the best solution is to downgrade or avoid updating the baseband to 6.15.

    iPhone reset image courtesy of iClarified.