Apparently there is some sort of GPS on the 5th Gen Touch

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by somethingelsefl, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    Here is was I noticed today, maybe someone can explain it to me...

    5th Gen iPod Touch Black running iOS 6.0.1

    I searched for a location and got directions using Apple Maps. Then I left the house with my iPod Touch 5th Gen in my hand and started driving. That means that I left and disconnected from my known wireless networks. When I looked back at the map for the directions, the blue dot was moving almost perfectly! It even assisted me with generic location-based turn by turn (similar to what occurs on the iPhone 4 running iOS 6). This continued all the way until I arrived at the location I had searched for.

    How is this possible?

    I had heard rumors that Apple's system polls local WiFi networks for location, regardless of if you are connected to them or not. But this is odd because I was driving! On the interstate!

    It was much more convenient than I had hoped for, since I was only expected to read a list of directions and glance at the map for was very nice to also be able to see where I was...on an iPod Touch (that supposed has no built-in GPS and relies on WiFi triangulation!)

    I guess you don't need to be connected to a wireless network in order to obtain location based information on an iPod Touch?????
  2. macrumors 603


    Jul 11, 2006
    Were you in an urban area? It does triangulate off wifi networks, and if there are enough of them around it can do a decent job.
  3. macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    As the other poster noted, this is done from a database of wifi locations. As your iPod detects wifi networks, it doesn't need to connect to them to know where they are, and, by extension, where you are. I, too, have seen this work, even when driving down a freeway, so long as I'm in a relatively urban area. I've observed this behavior for a number of years, now. So, while its really quite cool, it's not new.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2010
    So practically speaking, how do you use it? How much of the map is available while disconnected from wireless?
  5. macrumors 68000

    Apr 22, 2008
  6. somethingelsefl, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    Thanks...I should have searched the forums first. It's really impressive how fluid the triangulation is on the iPod.


    A surprising amount. I could zoom in and out for almost the entire west coast of Florida (even though my search was only for a location in North Tampa). I could even see landmarks, roads and parks clearly for a large amount of area. All without a data connection, It was really impressive. Definitely much more than Google Maps (and honestly I was prepared to hate Apple Maps).

    I think that the amount of preloaded data is streamlined in part due to the vector graphics of Apple Maps versus the Google alternative.

    At times there was a little bit of lagtime and the blue dot would jump, but it did a fairly good job of navigating me through an area I was unfamiliar with, and the location-based turn by turn definitely helped me avoid missed turns.

    Obviously, there was not voice-over since there wasn't internet connection.


    I've noticed it before as well, but the speed that this was happening almost made me second-guess whether the thing had GPS in it! It was impressive. I really gotta hand it to Apple Maps, the switch to vector graphics probably had something to do with the speed at which the the whole process found new areas and preloaded the map data.

    This is one area that I've now come to prefer Apple Maps over Google Maps (and I use custom Google Maps EXTENSIVELY for my job and personal use).
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2008
    Funny enough, remember the whole "Apple is tracking our location" conspiracy theory that everybody was up in arms about?

    That database (the same one you're referring to) people were talking about is actually what powers the behavior the original poster is seeing. It holds a database of wireless base stations downloaded from Apple which then tell the device where these stations are and therefore figure out is own location. It also makes it easier to get a quicker approximation sooner, and with less battery power, for apps that don't need an exact location.

    Ironically, when Apple was pushed to periodically prune out the database, we basically crippled the extent of which this thing works offline. And to a lesser extent also increased battery usage slightly and slowed down location services. :p
  8. macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2011
    I had a similar thing happen recently. I happened to have Waze running in the background while I was listening to music while driving. Suddenly, the music volume lowered and a voice came on and warned me of an accident ahead. It happened on an interstate and the nearest wifi had to be at least 100 yards away and behind a cement sound barrier. I guess all it needs is a whiff of a signal to know the location.

  9. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2011
  10. macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2012
    what i think is wifi technology is used in this ipod and this is very useful and advanced technology which helps us in many situations. pathetic situation is that this will work only in urban areas.
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2008
    Tampa, FL
  12. macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2009
    So in theory, if I tried using the Nike+ Running app (not to be confused with the free Nike+ iPod app) with a 5th generation iPod Touch, it should be able to track my route. When using this app on the iPhone, it relies on GPS.

    I'm considering getting an iPod Touch specifically for the gym and running outside. If this app will work without the need for a sensor, I'm going out to get tonight. The sensor has never been accurate for me.
  13. macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire
    I doubt it will work very well unless the area is blanketed by WiFi.
  14. macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    It'll only track your course accurately if you're in a very urban area - As in, high rise apartment blocks around you. But if you're running through the city, then yeah, it might be able to track it decently :) Have a try.

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