How To Fix Inaccurate or Incorrect GPS Position on iPhone

Sometimes, you may find that your iPhone’s GPS position has become “stuck,” reporting either an inaccurate GPS position, or an old position you haven’t been at for a long time.

You can tell it’s the operating system—and not just a particular app—by opening the Compass or Maps app, and seeing the same “stuck” GPS position, or lack of a GPS position altogether.

This can be extremely frustrating if you rely on your iPhone for navigation, mapping, or other functions that require an accurate location.

This exact issue happened shortly into my last Pacific crossing. On the bright side, I was able to resolve it easily. Here’s how.

1. Go to the Settings app

2. Select the General item

3. Scroll down and select “Transfer or Reset iPhone”

4. Select “Reset”

Yes, I know this option is a bit scary because it simply says “Reset” and the UI does not indicate that there are further options. This is a sub-optimal design by Apple in my opinion. But, trepidation acknowledged, please continue…

5. From the choices that pop up, select “Reset Location & Privacy”

6. Enter your iPhone unlock passcode

7. Choose “Reset Settings”

What will happen? Well firstly, the issue with the “stuck” GPS should be resolved. But also, remember how when you first open an app that uses the GPS, the operating system prompts you whether or not to allow the app to access the GPS location? All apps will reset to the unprompted state. So the next time you open them, you’ll be prompted again as to whether or not to allow access.

In other words, there’s not a terrible amount of inconvenience to resetting location & privacy.

Tip: If you’re headed offshore and rely on your iDevice for navigation or weather data, consider taking a hard copy of this how-to with you, or making it known to your shore-based support team.

Note: These instructions were prepared using iOS 16, which was the most recent version at time of writing.

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