How Does the iPhone GPS System Work?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by rekhyt, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. rekhyt macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2008
    Part of the old MR guard.
    I'm planning on getting an iPhone, but I have a few questions that I need to resolve for purchasing one. (Probably waiting for the iPhone 5, but the questions should be universal for any recent iPhone.)

    How does the iPhone GPS system work? Can it be used without a wireless and cellular signal? (I presume that GPS function works within the Maps application as the iPhone has a GPS chip.) Does it mean I can pinpoint my location on the globe in a region without any signal?
  2. Sirobin macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2008
    Yup, you don’t need a cell signal. However, it is MUCH faster with it, since the towers give the phone a rough idea of where it is to begin with.
  3. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    The clue is in your question.

    GPS= "Global Positioning Satellite"

    It works like any other GPS - it triangulates the signal from a number of satellites in order to figure out where it is. It does not need a cellular signal (although as the previous poster said, it can use cellular network positioning data to speed up that first fix).

    Do bear in mind, however, that GPS (whether iPhone or any other system) needs a GPS signal to work with and there are going to be locations where that becomes difficult (where you are overshadowed by lots of trees or buildings, for instance).
  4. Xenc macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    London, England
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You'll need a network connection to download the map tiles from Google if you use in the built in Maps app. Otherwise you can purchase a navigation app with map data preloaded.
  5. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    GPS stands for Global Positioning System.
  6. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    +1, the GPS will have no problem finding you, but it will just be on a field of gray unless you have pre-loaded maps.

Share This Page