GPS and airplane mode

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by jmmo20, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    #1
    Hello,

    Does anyone know for sure if airplane mode does disable the GPS chip?
    I downloaded Pathtrack and thought it be great if you could use it on a plane, because it tracks you even if no internet (google maps) is available. When you get to destination and get online you can send the path back to their servers for you to keep.

    thanks.
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #2
    Airplane mode turns off all transmitters and receivers.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    greenmymac

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Tulsa, Ok
    #3
    it would be pretty neat to have GPS on an Airplane and watch and see where your flying!
     
  4. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #4
    delta is offering wifi services

    http://www.yenra.com/wiki/Gogo_Delta_WiFi_Internet

    makes you wonder if you could uses your own internet from iphone as there are obvioulsy signals being transmitted by wifi. how they regulate those signals to be safe, i have no idea
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    FarSeide

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Earth Lane
    #5
    tried the GPS on the plane to Japan and GPS does not work when in Airplane Mode.
     
  6. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #6
    ive heard that nuvie's work.....my dad tried it and i told him afterward you coulda gotten in decent trouble probably lol
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    :eek: leave airplane mode and give it a go :eek:
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    FarSeide

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Earth Lane
    #8
    tried that as well. No Go. I had nothing else to do for 11.5 hours from LAX to NRT
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #9
    I've found from playing with it, that with airplane mode ON, my position in google maps DOES NOT update, indicating to me that the GPS chip is off. With airplane mode OFF, and NO SERVICE, I've found that my position in google maps DOES update, indicating that the GPS chip is on. So, to answer your question, yes airplane mode does disable the GPS chip.

    You have an interesting idea there though, but unfortunately it would require that you leave your phone on, and hope that you could grab a GPS fix from the airplane while traveling at high speeds without service. Very unlikely, I would think? I know my friend has tried his portable tom tom on a plane and it couldn't grab a fix at all, he let it go for 15 minutes and it never locked.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    #10


    Because contrary to popular belief, having cellphones on during flight isn't dangerous. It's more of a "better safe then sorry" policy.

    My mom was a flight attendant.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    #11
    I just read there are a couple of leading reasons why cellphones aren't yet allowed on flights:

    1. The cell carriers didn't like the idea of hundreds of cell phones pinging hundreds of towers at once and causing excessive handoff traffic. A plane flying at 30,000 feet is nearly equidistant from dozens of cell towers, so there would be far more negotiation and handoff than for a phone near the ground.

    2. Most people (more than 80%) surveyed said they'd rather not have to listen to a Chatty Cathy on her cell phone during their flight than have the ability to make their own calls. Once the number of people who want cell use outnumber the number of people who don't, the airlines will probably reconsider.

    I have heard of people using GPS receivers on flights and they work, but someone told me the airlines were concerned about security as a GPS receiver could be used as a location-based triggering device, for example. Seems a little far-fetched to me, but I guess that comes down to the 'better safe than sorry' issue.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    Illinois
    #12
    I thought that cell phones would be useless in terms of signals on flight...While the towers are strong enough to transmit a signal, doesn't that mean that you can receive a call, but as soon as you answer, you drop it, because of the strength of the transmitter in the phone?
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #13
    Many country laws prohibit GPS on a plane! HUGE Security issue!
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    #14
    I was on several flights a day ago. (going from anchorage AK to Hartford CT via Seattle and Houston) i tried turning off airplane mode for a minute. It couldn't locate me, nor could it find cell towers, i think the airplane was too high to get any signal.
     
  15. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #15
    My cousin tried his iPhone on a plane last week and said it didn't give him anything.

    Some GPS units do work, though. I used to have a GPS unit that plugged into my laptop.

    I got it to work just fine! :D
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    lavrishevo

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia
    #16
    I just tried the GPS on my flight and I could not pick up a signal. Had it on the ground but put it away during the last pre-flight inspection and it lost signal right around take off and never came back.

    I was actually trying to use Speedometer to see the the speed it would read but a no go. :(

    Edit: Just came across this posted "It can't locate you without cell service. Turn on airplane mode and open Google Maps. Try locating yourself. It doesn't work. It can't find the satellites on its own, it needs assistance from the cell towers."
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    #17
    Policy on GPS use in flight varies from airline to airline. Southwest has flip flopped but currently permits them. At last check, Delta allowed them, but some of their affiliated do not. Most GPS receivers won't get signal through the fuselage, but will if held next to a window. It is kind of cool to see your speed and altitude in real time, and have your path plotted on a map (I use a Garmin 60C).
    As with almost every portable electronic device, use is prohibited below 10,000 feet. After that, check your in-flight magazine for a list of permitted devices. Most GPS units are receivers only, so the transmitter issue isn't a problem.
    The iPhone turns off the GPS receiver when in airline mode.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    #18
    In order to receive a call, the tower has to have already established two-way communications with the handset. Even at 35000 feet, it's still less than seven miles and there are no obstructions, so your handset should be able to communicate just fine. I don't know, though, how much affect the plane's aluminum fuselage would attenuate the signals.
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #19
    FWIW I had tried my Verizon phone (which got great reception pretty much everywhere... I was the guy who always had cell service when no one else did) on a few flights and when at cruising altitude, it never could find a signal.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    #20
    That's because you're at least 6 miles from the nearest transceiver, and they don't point up, and you're going 500 miles per hour.

    No one gets cell service in airplanes at cruising altitude.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    #21
    my freind got 2 bars of service 25 mins after take off departing Vegas using a Verizon LG VX6000. this was almost 2 yrs ago
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #22
    Umm no it doesn't. FYI.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #23
    Just leave your phone on. They overate the 'Phones interfere with the plane' so much. Saying that, you wont get any reception in a plane (to far from cell towers). GPS should work though.
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #24
    The GPS may find your position, but without cell/wifi coverage you won't have any data for Google Maps, so it's pretty pointless.

    And there's been a huge discussion here before as to whether or not it's ok for some people to take it upon themselves to turn on their phones during take off/flight, just because they don't see why they shouldn't.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    lavrishevo

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia
    #25
    I would love to hear if anyone is successful in getting GPS on the iPhone while at cruising altitude. Please let me know.
     

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