Skip to Content

How Accurate is the iPhone GPS?

As an iPhone owner, I have often found myself frustrated when trying to rely on the GPS for directions. After doing some research and testing, I’m here to share how accurate the iPhone GPS really is and some solutions I discovered to improve its performance. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the factors that influence the accuracy of the iPhone GPS and the steps you can take to get the most out of it.

The iPhone is known to have one of the most accurate GPS available today. As the iPhone continued advancing through science and research, additional integrations further improved the smartphone’s GPS. So much so that if Waldo had an iPhone, we’d quickly find him.

If you’re an iPhone user and you haven’t taken advantage of this feature, now might be a good time. Read on to learn more about the iPhone GPS and its remarkable accuracy.

Factors & FeaturesDescriptionProsCons
iPhone GPS AccuracyiPhone GPS chip connects to satellites for location determination, with A-GPS providing better accuracy through cell tower and WiFi signals.Highly accurate GPS, improves with use.Can be affected by signal interference.
GLONASS IntegrationiPhone 4S and later models use GLONASS in addition to GPS for better coverage and accuracy, especially in areas with weaker GPS signals.Improved accuracy and signal coverage.None
Dual-Frequency GPSCombines L1 and L5 bands for better location tracking and less signal disruption from obstructions and atmospheric conditions.Enhanced location tracking, less signal disruption.None
GPS AppsCompatible with various GPS apps, such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, TomTom GO Navigation, Waze, Verizon VZ Navigator, and Gaia GPS.Multiple apps for different GPS needs.None
Activating iPhone GPSTurn on Location Services in the Privacy section of the Settings menu to activate iPhone GPS and control app permissions for location access.Easy activation and app permission control.None
Pros and Cons of iPhone GPSHighly accurate GPS with GLONASS and dual-frequency GPS integrations, compatible with several GPS apps, and increases in accuracy with more use.Enhanced accuracy, multiple integrations, and app support.Affected by signal interference and obstructions.

Is the iPhone GPS Accurate?

Like any of our traditional standalone GPS devices, the iPhone contains a GPS chip that allows it to connect to satellites, determining your location. While the GPS alone may not always be 100% accurate, it still gets the job done.

Factors such as signal interference, atmospheric conditions, and other physical obstructions affect the accuracy of a GPS device.

What gives the iPhone GPS an edge in accuracy comes from a process called assisted GPS or A-GPS. Through A-GPS, signals from cell phone towers and WiFi networks work hand in hand with the GPS to give a more accurate location.

While the A-GPS is not necessarily unique to iPhones, the level of accuracy does not stop there. After all, we are talking about iPhones, and they’re well-known for a lot of innovations. Let’s see how further accurate we can get.

It Gets Better With Time

Did you know that the more you use the iPhone GPS or any GPS-based app, the more accurate it gets? This is because the more signals the iPhone GPS receives from multiple sources, the more data gets collected and saved for faster tracking while being more accurate.

With multiple sources of signal, the iPhone GPS can quickly map your location with ease. Make sure your iPhone’s date and time settings are set correctly, though.

Combined Forces of Technology

Apart from the iPhone’s A-GPS and accuracy increase per use, this phone combines forces with other GPS integrations to give the best results in location tracking and navigation. The integrations iPhones make use of include:

GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System)

The integration of GLONASS began with the release of the iPhone 4S. The addition of GLONASS provided more coverage in terms of signal sources.

The combination of the GPS and GLONASS resulted in more accuracy in location mapping, especially in areas where the GPS signals may not be as strong.

Dual-Frequency GPS

What exactly does dual-frequency mean? It refers to receiving signals from two satellites that operate at different frequencies. What are the results of dual-frequency GPS? Better location tracking, of course!

Most traditional GPS devices make use of the L1 band, and it has stood the test of time in terms of efficiency. However, the L1 band is limited since it experiences signal disruptions from obstructions and certain atmospheric conditions.

The dual-frequency GPS combines the L5 with the L1 band to remedy this limitation. This newly-added iPhone feature is perfect for those who have wanderlust!

iPhone GPS Apps

If you’re curious as to how the iPhone incorporates GPS in its apps, then we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best GPS apps available on iPhone:

  • Google Maps
  • Apple Maps
  • TomTom GO Navigation
  • Waze
  • Verizon VZ Navigator
  • Gaia GPS

Make sure to check these apps out to make the most out of your iPhone GPS. There is nothing better than a reliable travel companion that gives accurate directions.

How to Activate Your iPhone GPS?

Read more: Horizontal lines on iPhone screen

Now you’ve seen the outstanding features of the iPhone GPS and the best apps that use it. The next step would be to take advantage of it by turning on your iPhone’s Location Services.

To do this:

  • On your iPhone’s home screen, tap on Settings.
  • Scroll down on the Settings menu, then tap on Privacy.
  • Tap on Location Services > then toggle it to On.

If you scroll further down, you’ll find a list of apps that can use your iPhone GPS. Feel free to tinker with it if you want to limit the use of your iPhone GPS to some apps only.

Pros of iPhone GPS

  • Highly accurate
  • Integrates with GLONASS and dual-frequency GPS for even higher accuracy
  • Compatible with several GPS apps
  • Accuracy increases with more use

Cons of iPhone GPS

  • Signal interference can affect accuracy
  • Atmospheric conditions can affect accuracy
  • Physical obstructions can affect accuracy


Read more: How long can iPhone record a voice memo?

It’s always amazing to see how technological innovations continue to improve to better our daily living. We used to struggle to make sense of traditional maps. Now, we have maps that direct us instantly and with ease.

With such technology available, the possibilities are endless, especially for all the adventurous souls out there. May you never get lost again with the ever-so-accurate iPhone GPS. Safe travels!