iPhone GPS function not working in foreign countries...why?

lucanaut

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 30, 2009
20
5
Hello,
I have encountered an issue with both my iPhone 3GS and my wife's 3G (mentioning that so I'm pretty sure it's no a specific unit's issue).

Whenever I travel abroad, whether it's Europe or, say, Central America, the GPS function does not work. This is the case whether I have the plane in Airplane Mode or not. I can make calls etc. through the foreign carrier when I'm connected to the cell network. Data roaming is OFF, but I didn't think that was necessary for GPS. Basically, what happens is I open google maps, and try to locate myself, and it thinks about it for a while, and then tells me it cannot determine my location. Oh yeah, also tried when on Wi-Fi and still no GPS. I don't want to enable data roaming but, again, I didn't think that was necessary for the GPS function. What am I missing? I also tried it using an app called Trails which should record your lat/lon position regardless of maps being available. Same deal, the phones can't locate themselves. :confused:

Thanks
GC
 

Moi un Mouton

macrumors 68000
Mar 18, 2008
1,686
1
Bracknell UK
It should work on wifi.

However, I remember that when I first used my GPS, it took something like 20 minutes before it located me. I suspect it would be the same for a first time fix if I now used it abroad. Maybe you just need to leave it sitting on the window ledge for a long time.

But maps does need data, it can't show you where you are if it can't download the maps.
 

lucanaut

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 30, 2009
20
5
It should work on wifi.

However, I remember that when I first used my GPS, it took something like 20 minutes before it located me. I suspect it would be the same for a first time fix if I now used it abroad. Maybe you just need to leave it sitting on the window ledge for a long time.

But maps does need data, it can't show you where you are if it can't download the maps.
Interesting. Were you on google maps while waiting 20 minutes? Because it seems to time out on me after 5 minutes or so and announce it can't locate me. So I'm not sure how to make it last longer. I am not really concerned with maps, because all I need for geotagging are the lat/lon coordinates. Besides, when I'm on WiFi I could download them. It's just that I can't seem to be able to get Google maps to not time out before finding its location.
 

-aggie-

macrumors P6
Jun 19, 2009
16,800
50
Where bunnies are welcome.
Interesting. Were you on google maps while waiting 20 minutes? Because it seems to time out on me after 5 minutes or so and announce it can't locate me. So I'm not sure how to make it last longer. I am not really concerned with maps, because all I need for geotagging are the lat/lon coordinates. Besides, when I'm on WiFi I could download them. It's just that I can't seem to be able to get Google maps to not time out before finding its location.
I'm inside a house and the sky is overcast and I can get google maps to locate me in seconds with only wifi.
 

Moi un Mouton

macrumors 68000
Mar 18, 2008
1,686
1
Bracknell UK
I'm inside a house and the sky is overcast and I can get google maps to locate me in seconds with only wifi.
Yes, mine's fine now, I was only talking about the first time ever that it had to locate me, I think it must now make an assumption about which satellites it should try to use based on where it thinks I am. Hence it locates me quickly as it's always right.
 

pol0001

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2008
325
80
London
From own experience I can tell you that the GPS is working in other countries. But you need offline maps! I have a Dutch iPhone and my Navigon App works fine in Germany.
 

Galarina

macrumors member
Jun 27, 2009
97
0
The iPhone's GPS certainly should work in a foreign country, but it can take some time (up to 20 minutes) before you get a GPS lock. I use the TrackThing app to verify when a GPS lock is acquired.
Turning WiFi on could help since it makes A-GPS (assisted GPS) possible.
 
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