Why does my iPhone think I'm in Boulder, Colorado?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by ok3wire, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2009
    For about the past week now, my standard 3Gs map app has been erroneously showing me as being located in Boulder, CO (I've never left L.A.). It doesn't do it every single time, but much more often than not.

    Why is this happening, and is there any way I can manually override this initial location fix to recalibrate the GPS?
  2. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    Perhaps someone just moved near you from Boulder, and brought their WiFi router with them.

    If Skyhook had mapped it as being in Boulder, you'll get that location when your phone is using WiFi hotspots for locating.

    You would have to get them to log into Skyhook and change their location. Supposedly Skyhook will figure it out on its own, but ...
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Thanks for the attempted assist, kdarling. Unfortunately, this is happening to me as I drive all throughout the South Bay area of Greater Los Angeles on the 3G network.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2008
    Fort Collins Colorado
    This is because there is no difference between Boulder Colorado and California. The iPhone is smart enough to know this and so it picks the lesser evil of the two and places you there. :eek:
  5. macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    yes, boulder is a great place and your phone knows it!
  6. macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2010

    Hey, I just signed up here just to reply to this.

    I am having the EXACT same problem. And I live in Torrance/South Bay CA! I'm glad someone else is having the same problem, but it's been driving me crazy. I think I've been having this problem for about a week now.

    Does anyone know what is going on?
  7. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    Checking the Apple iPhone forum, apparently other people are having your problem in Torrance and Redondo Beach while on 3G.

    Is your GPS turned off? Are you only using cell id locating? If so...

    Then another possibility is that ATT accidentally or on purpose used a Boulder cell tower id for Torrance 3G. Or Google's database of cell ids got goofed up.

    (Cell id changes are not unknown. In some countries, carriers would swap cell ids every day, mostly to prevent people from using cell id databases to get out of paying the carrier for locating services.)

    You need to open a trouble ticket with ATT, and also go to Google Maps support and send them a note. Send feedback to Apple in their site as well, just to get more attention. Again, assuming you're using cell id locating and not GPS.
  8. macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    I would also tend to believe it's "skyhook"
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Aha! Then I'm not alone after all. Well, misery loves company as they say. :D I'm seeing the problem in parts of Torrance, Redondo and Hermosa, at a minimum.

    And, for what little it's worth, I seem to be spending a lot of time in the alley behind Boulder's Center for Resource Conservation near the intersection of 26th and Spruce. :)
  10. macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2009
    Was in Torrance/Boulder earlier today. Same issue. Am in Gardena now and it shows my correct location.
  11. macrumors 601


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    it wants you to move
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Very interesting stuff, kdarling. I guess there really is a much larger problem at work here. I'll have to check out the Apple forum. Macrumors is always my initial destination for Apple related questions. :)

    I'm assuming my GPS is enabled. I'm not even sure how I would turn it off if I wanted to. I don't see any GPS related controls in the Settings menu.

    Thank you again for your excellent assistance. :)
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2009
    It does sort of add insult to injury when the place it tells you you're supposed to be is so much nicer than the place you actually are. :D
  14. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    The weird thing is that towers are id'd with both a cell number and a code for a local cell area controller, so for my theory to work ATT would've had to move an entire cell area. Seems more likely that Google's tower database is goofed up.

    When you get the location, is it in large circle on the screen, or a dot or apulsating dot?
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    This happens to me from time to time. I'm in Chapel Hill, NC and my map will show that I'm in the middle of the Arizona desert, south of Artesa. This only happens when I'm at home and if I turn the phone off and back on again it will show my correct location. I do have a 3G MicroCell, so I figured that was the culprit.

    Perhaps my phone is trying to tell me that I would be happier living in a trailer in the Arizona desert 50 miles from anyone.
  16. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Most of the time (if not all), I believe I've been getting a large circle around Boulder:


    As an aside, how do you turn on and off your GPS feature?
  17. macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2010
    I also have the large green circle with a flash dot on the Maps app. And this behaviour extends across all apps that use location services, such as Yelp (this is where I first noticed the problem).

    I've confirmed with two other people at work (in Redondo Beach CA) that their iPhones are doing the same thing.

    (Note that the three of us all have 3G iPhones, and I believe none of us have wifi on. I know wifi radio is off on my phone.)

    Any contact with Apple and/or ATT yet? I will try to call ATT this afternoon, though I can imagine the response I'll get from the base level service rep I speak to.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    Same thing is happening to me. I am in the South Bay as well. Have also had problems with how fast my email is pushed to me.

    Tried to call AT&T and they were no help.

    Going to apple store soon.
  19. macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2007
    This is happening to me, too... (South Bay/Torrance)

    GPS apps outdoors work correctly; but indoors will triangulate to Boulder, CO.

    Works fine when I get home to Eagle Rock.

    It's probably an ATT cell tower issue, but can't use location based apps indoors.

    As for turning on location mapping on/off, Go to Settings-->General--> Location Services

    Good time to do some local crimes, as my FourSquare alibi has me in Boulder...:D
  20. macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    Apple store couldn't do anything. Would have to deal with At&t again :eek:

    One thing that does work is to turn off the 3G. Seems to locate me in edge network.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2010
    Evansville, In
    maybe your phone got drunk and went on a little road trip and hasnt confessed yet! :cool:
  22. macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2010

    Still not working! :(
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    Same problem here in South Bay, Los Angeles, CA

    It's been happening to me also. It's been about two or three weeks -- that my iPhone puts me in Boulder, Colorado. Why there? I thought I had a busted phone, cause I dropped it about a month ago. I was going to get a replacement $$. Now I don't have to. :) !

    Apple doesn't know about this problem. AT&T doesn't know.
  24. macrumors 68000

    Mar 18, 2008
    Bracknell UK
    For those people living in the area that has this problem, one probable fix (if it's just an indoor problem) is to go and register your own wifi router on Skyhook, plus any other routers that you can pick up at home.

    My iPhone location was not all that accurate for me indoors at home, but 4 days after I registered my and my neighbours' wifi routers on Skyhook, it gets my exact location from that, and doesn't bother trying cell-tower triangulation.
  25. macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    iPhone shows me in Boulder Colorado (I'm in Southbay, Los Angeles)

    Just spoke with AT&T tech support. They have a free iPhone app called "AT&T mark the spot" that we can use to submit "network incident" reports, when AT&T problems occur, wherever we are. Of course with this problem, iPhone will put us in Boulder, CO. But we can explain in the Additional Info section of the report.

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