Wrong Location Detection on iPhone

I wasn’t sure how to categorize this one, as it’s not technically Tech Support as I figured out the fix.

My iPhone has been having major issues with location detection. I noticed this issue recently as I’ve been making some major hops between continents during the past 2 months. Today, I tried to hail an Uber in Paris, and I couldn’t at first. My iPhone thought I was in Dubai. That’s only the difference of 6,800 km/4,200 miles. ONLY.

I couldn’t figure out the reason for the erratic behavior. I tinkered around with the iPhone for a bit, and I managed to fix it. I simply turned WiFi on, and magically my iPhone location jumped back to Paris within feet of where I was standing.

I’m not sure if anyone else faced/faces this issue. The fix is simple. Internet posts suggest that leaving WiFI on all the time is not a battery drag, in my experience it is especially when you’re out all day with no access to an electrical outlet.

Has anyone else faced this issue. Do you know of a different way to address this problem?

I’ve seen this occasionally, but it thinking it’s in Dubai is pretty funny. I’ve always bounced into Airplane Mode and back out.

Yes it’s hilarious. I tried airplane mode and on again, it didn’t work. Just turned on WiFi without actually connecting to any WiFi network, location corrected immediately.

I’m running an XS Max, latest iOS. This shouldn’t be happening.

I wonder if you have a hardware problem with the GPS receiver in your phone?

More likely is that you’re having problems getting a GPS lock in some places, but since Location Services can also use WiFi to help determine your location, turning it on supplements a weak (or non-existent) GPS signal.

Maybe. I didn’t have a problem with the location services before I turned on the 2nd SIM feature. My 2 SIMs are issued in different countries, maybe that’s what’s confusing the phone?

That might be it too: you could try disabling the primary SIM next time this happens and if that fixes it then you’re onto something. On the other hand, I just had my iPad out of country with a second (e)SIM enabled and it did not exhibit this behaviour. Personally, I’d contact Apple at this point.

I have location problems on a regular basis. There’s no domestic cell service at our house. There is a cell signal from a tower in Canada that’s a few dozen miles away. Even though I can’t roam to that tower some (but not all) apps that are location-based occasionally locate me there, not here, unless I put the phone in airplane mode. That’s even with WiFi on. Some apps claim that they can’t find my location unless the phone isn’t in airplane mode. Some apps occasionally get stuck in the last place that I used them with a cell signal. Some don’t. The whole thing is somewhat random.

It’s perhaps worth noting that I live on a densely wooded lot and the house has a metal roof so GPS coverage is questionable. That’s probably not helping. There’s also only one WiFi network here and location services has, at least once, “forgotten” where it’s located for an extended period.

Still, “this shouldn’t be happening” is a nice summary.

I think that WiFi only helps to locate you if Apple knows where your wireless network is located, which is probably not the case for one as isolated as yours.

I was having a discussion with a colleague of mine attending the same event I am in Paris, and he too has the exact same location services. His fix was to restart the phone.

He has the same set up, iPhone XS with dual sim (eSim). At least I’m happy to know my issue is not isolated.