My iPad knows where I am!

Discussion in 'iPad' started by NEUengineer, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. NEUengineer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #1
    So my NON 3G iPad was sitting my lap as I was being driven down the street. I had google map up and a map of the town i was in so we didn't get lost. Somehow the iPad was able to follow our trip all through town, even though it was NOT connected to the internet and NOT connected to 3G since it doesn't have that option. I know it has an accelerometer, but I'd be very surprised if that's all it needs to track my position all over the city.

    How does it do this?

    Andy
     
  2. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #2
    with no GPS or 3G maps uses wireless triangulation. maybe you were connected to public hotspots?
     
  3. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #3
    It loads a list of nearby WiFi networks along your course and updates your position as you drive around and the next network is seen. If you try it again with WiFi turned off, it won't do it.
     
  4. NEUengineer thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #4
    It's possible it caught hot spots, but I'm not exactly driving through an urban area most of the time. I noticed that when i do drive past hot spots, it asks me if i want to join them, but it has already figured out where i am before these start to pop up. I'll give it a try without wifi on and see what happens.
     
  5. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #5
    you dont need to connect to them, it just always queries hotspots and then works out how far away they are.
     
  6. Lukeyy19 macrumors 6502a

    Lukeyy19

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    #6
    it knows the location of SSIDs around the world, so when it finds enough around you, it uses signal strengths to determine how far you are from each of them, thus giving it a usually very good position for you, it will then try to place you on the nearest road if you are moving.
     
  7. LinkMx macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #7
    Yes I noticed this too, my iPad woulnd't find my location before 4.2, now it gives me an aproximate location (at least in my house). Curious enough my 1st gen iPod touch (running 3.1.3) still does't locate me, so maybe there are some changes with 4.2
     
  8. Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Sunny Southern California
    #8
    Hmm interesting.

    If you were to use the "Find my iDevice" application I wonder if it would tell you where the iPad was despite it not being connected to a wireless network?
     
  9. Lukeyy19 macrumors 6502a

    Lukeyy19

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    #9
    well the Find My iPhone help says this:

    If you’re looking for an iPod touch or iPad Wi-Fi, it can be found only if it’s on, connected to a Wi-Fi network, and not asleep.

    but i disconnected from my WiFi router on my iPad, but left WiFi on and I got this

    [​IMG]

    but i would guess considering the red Offline indicator, it is displaying it's last known location.
     
  10. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #10
    Nope, how would it tell Apple's servers where it is? ;)
     
  11. NEUengineer thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2010
    #11
    So after playing around quite a bit, i figured this out:

    It uses wifi, public or private to locate the iPad. When wifi was turned off, no dice. It would not even try to find my location. When it was on, what it would do was figure out where i was by driving past these networks. All the networks that i passed showed up as locked, but it was still able to use them. I plotted out the locations i was where it updated my position and realized its using the same places i pass, meaning that there must be wifi in that area. I was just very confusing at first because there were some streets i would drive down and it showed me moving at an even pace down the street. I now realize that it was because that one street had wifi for each house on the street.

    Just thought you guys would like to know this,


    Andy
     
  12. Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Sunny Southern California
    #12
    Huh, quite interesting. Thanks for this.
     
  13. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #13
    Not SSIDs, because those duplicate too easily. (Think of the gazillions of "NetGear" or "LinkSys" default names.)

    It uses each router's MAC address, which is unique.

    Originally the iPhone used the Skyhook WiFi database, but now all iOS devices use Apple's database instead. The ones with GPS also contribute to the database; whenever you request a location fix the phone/pad also catalogs all the local WiFi hotspots and transmits them to Apple. You pay for the data transfer.

    Just a few bytes, of course, but still... basically Apple is using our paid data plan bytes to build up their database so they don't have to pay Skyhook.
     
  14. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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  15. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A306 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Wrong.

    All ipads have a GPS chip. The non-3G iPad GPS chip only operates when it detects a WiFi connection.

    Proof: I used iTether to provide a local Wifi connection in my car. The iPad map app was just as accurate as my iPhone 4 map app. Navigon and Tomtom worked great on the iPad.

    Again, paying extra for the 3G version of the iPad is stupid if you have an iPhone.
     
  16. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Sorry, this has been running since the iPads first came out. The iPad WiFi does not have a GPS chip. If it did, don't you think that the iFixit guys who run serial numbers and identify manufacturer/model of every chip in every Apple product would have found it?

    Unless Apple has some sort of new invisible GPS chips.
     
  17. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #17
    You happen to be wrong here. Only the 3G iPad has GPS. The iFixit teardown proves it as well as the Apple tech specs.
     
  18. poloponies macrumors 68030

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    May 3, 2010
    #18

    Uh, wrong. There isn't any GPS chip of any kind in a WiFi-only iPad. It uses "Location Services":

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4084
     
  19. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2004
    #19
    All Ipads have GPS.

    That page is designed for the non-techie user. It's only to get stupid people to pay more for the 3G version of the iPad.

    All iPads have a GPS chip in them. However, if no network connection is detected the GPS chip turns off.

    The whole idea of the iPad getting it's location from my Linksys router is stupid. My ISP is QWEST. My $20 Linksys router has no GPS circuity in it. Qwest does not pair it's MAC address with Long/Lat coords. There's no database that apple has of all MAC addresses.

    Besides, I've flashed my MAC address to a new one and my Ipad still shows my location to be the same.

    The final proof is that I've tethered my iPad to my iPhone using TetherMe and boom, the GPS works great! Navigon works great! etc. Explain that!
     
  20. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #20
    The WiFi only iPad does NOT HAVE A GPS CHIP. The logicboard(s) has been physically looked at for one and has been found to NOT contain one.

    WiFi routers do not have GPS in them and I don't know of any that do. ISP's typically do not match MAC addresses with customer addresses. Apple does indeed have a database that holds many MAC address locations. Its very similar to Skyhook's. Even though your MAC address has been flashed, other WiFi networks around your's have not been and iDevices keep their past known location stored until they are rebooted. That last bit is not proof in anyway. The iPhone is constantly uploading it's position to Apple and scanning for nearby SSID's to add to their database. Thus, the iPad knows right where you are. And it uses local WiFi names and it's cached SSID location database to change the location accordingly.
     
  21. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    What??? *facepalm* That's non-sense! I have a CCNP, not even $2000 industry grade routers have anything like that.
     
  22. Intell, Dec 25, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010

    Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #22
    Well the tracking over iPhone tethering via constantly uploading the location to Apple is the only logical conclusion based on the following facts:

    •No GPS in WiFi only model
    •Using cached local route SSID location database on iPad
    •iPhone GPS and 3G connection
    •Apple's want for a better more seemless location system
     
  23. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #23

    The router doesn't have anything to do with it.

    Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyhook_Wireless

    "Using the MAC addresses of nearby wireless access points and proprietary algorithms, WPS can determine the position of a mobile device within 20–30 meters. It provides service similar to GPS without GPS hardware" (Emphasis mine)

    "At the Macworld Conference & Expo in January 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that both the iPhone and iPod Touch will use Skyhook's WPS as the primary location engine for Google Maps and other applications.[5] However, Apple revealed that starting with iPhone/iPad software 3.2 in April 2010, its devices no longer uses Skyhook, but relies on its own location technologies.[6]"

    Skyhook's tech is for locating your device based on the MAC addresses of nearby routers. The routers don't know where they are, but Skyhook (and now Apple) maintain a database of where the routers are. I don't know if the iOS devices themselves can update that database, but it's possible.


    If you still somehow don't see how it's possible to track location based on router MAC addresses and signal strength and a database lookup then I give up.
     
  24. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #24
    FWIW:

    http://www.macrumors.com/2010/07/30/apple-moved-location-services-in-house-with-ipad-and-ios-4/

    But yeah Sparky9292, ... no GPS chip in the WiFi-only versions of the iPod touch or iPad, although both can use the general method Stetrain posted to approximate their location.
     
  25. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #25
    How is this magical database of mac addresses and the GPS coordinates created? Does USWest magically report all of the Mac addresses to Apple?

    This is nonsense. There is a GPS chip in the ipad.
     

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