How to Work With Location Services in iOS 7

| How-To

Part 2 - How Accurate Are Location Services?


As alluded to above, depending on your device model, the iOS version and available services, Location Services uses a combination of cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, iBeacons 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-Fi and cell tower locations or iBeacons.

A Maps page on an iPhone

The Maps app and many other apps that display map info will show your location if Location Services is enabled

Apps that can show your location on the screen, including Maps, indicate your current (approximate) location using a blue marker pin. If your location can’t be determined precisely, a blue circle also appears around the pin. The size of the circle shows how precisely your location can be determined – the smaller the circle, the greater the precision.

An information box showing the Location Services arrowhead icon that appears on the device’s status bar

A tiny arrowhead in the status bar indicates that Location Services is enabled on the device. [Source: iPhone User Guide]

By the way, have you ever noticed a tiny arrowhead icon on your device’s status bar at the top of the screen? This is an indicator that Location Services is currently active.

An important fact to understand is that maps, directions, and location-based apps depend on third-party data services. Remember that data is subject to change and may not be available in all geographic areas, resulting in maps, directions, or location-based information that may be unavailable, inaccurate, or incomplete. Don’t be empty-headed by relying 100% on what your device tells you. Common sense dictates that you compare the information provided on the device to your surroundings, and defer to posted signs and prior experience to resolve any discrepancies.

Next: Turning Location Services On or Off



Location services on my wi-fi only iPad lets me see my location on a map and will show a moving blue dot as I travel. It seems that I must have my map open while on wi-fi, and the dot and map shows my location. It works in urban settings but I do not think out in the wilds. Cool feature, if I remember to start off with the map app open.

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