Airplane mode in a foreign country

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ndpitch, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    So I went to the Dominican Republic and took along my iPhone 4 to take some pictures and videos, and use WiFi in the hotel to check emails and such. I figured I'd just put it in airplane mode, and only use the wifi as to not rack up roaming charges.

    Today, I was looking at my pictures that I took using the 'Places' function, and it turns out the phone still tagged all the exact locations that I took the pictures at, as if the GPS was still on and being used. How did this happen? I thought airplane mode turned all that stuff off?

    Then yesterday I received an email from AT&T that said something along the lines of "tips when using your iPhone when you're abroad..."

    Am I screwed for my next bill? The phone never came out of airplane mode until I landed back in the states. I'd be mad if you still get charged for roaming data even if you're in airplane mode...
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2010
    first of all: doesn't wifi _not_ work in airplane mode?

    secondly. when you take a picture, the iPhone uses its GPS chipset to determine your coordinates, it never 'pulls' data from anywhere, but just triangulate you.
  3. TEG
    macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    The GPS is a passive system, so it still works when in Airplane Mode (nothing is sent, only received... directly from satellites). So long as you did not enable data, then no data was sent. You should be just fine.

    Once you enable "Airplane Mode" you can then go in and enable WiFi. That way you can use WiFi on WiFi equipped flights, without making cellular connections.

  4. macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2008
    I got that email a few weeks ago, so I'm guessing they are just sending it out to everybody since a lot of people go abroad during the holidays. You won't get charged any extra's, the reason your photos are being tagged is because many wifi locations are registered and so you can use location services based on what wifi network you're connected to. That's how location services works on an iPod touch.

    I was at the AT&T store yesterday, they told me that as long as data roaming is off, I won't be charged any extra's for data usage. Of course, if you send or receive messages or phone calls, they will charge you for that, but no extra data charges if data roaming is off.
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    Thanks much. I didn't know the GPS was in a sort of "always on" state, and that it didn't use data. The final verdict will come with the next bill, heh.
  6. macrumors 68000

    Oct 23, 2008
    You didn't know it didn't use data? Then you how did you think navigation systems work?
  7. macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    1) You can turn wifi back on while in Airplane mode. Just look in Settings.

    2) If either wifi is on or the device is not in Airplane mode, the GPS radio can be turned on.

    3) Even without any cellular or wifi signal, the iPhone's AGPS receiver will eventually lock on to some satellites if it's in the open (which may take many many minutes on older devices). This does not use any cellular data.

    4) With cellular data off, the Maps app may show you nothing, but many other GPS apps will show you the GPS latitude and longitude, accuracy, etc. Maybe the built-in Compass app as well.

  8. macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    That wouldn't be A-GPS. A-GPS requires a data connection:

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