iPad and iPhone GPS Tips

If you are experiencing trouble getting a good location fix from your GPS-equipped device, please check out these tips.

  • You must have a Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad (or an iPhone) to get a location fix in-flight because the Wi-Fi-only iPad model does not have an internal GPS receiver. A Wi-Fi-only iPad will only get a rough location fix when on the ground and near Wi-Fi access points. A Wi-Fi-only iPad will get good fixes in flight with an external GPS receiver listed on our buying guide. NOTE: a Cellular Data plan is not required to use ForeFlight Mobile, or to get a GPS location fix.
  • If you do have a Cellular Data plan, we recommend you turn off Cellular Data while in-flight (for battery savings and to reduce the chance of hearing interference in your headset). Do this in the Apple Settings application under Cellular Data, or from the Control Center (displayed by swiping down or up on the correct part of the screen. See this Apple article for more details.
  • Make sure Location Services are turned ON for the system and specifically for ForeFlight. Check this in the Apple Settings application, under Privacy > Location Services.
  • Getting a location fix on the ground before takeoff can improve the GPS performance for your flight, however doing so should not always be required.
  • If the moving map is working correctly but the airplane Location Marker is not shown, then tap More (bottom-right), tap Settings (top-left), then in the right-column set Enable Ownship to Always. The airplane Location Marker should now be seen on the moving map.
  • Ensure the date, time, and timezone are correctly set on the device in Apple Settings > General > Date & Time. If possible, use Set Automatically.
  • Sometimes rebooting the iPad or iPhone can fix a problem with getting your location. 
  • For best GPS position results, make sure the iPad or iPhone has a clear view of the sky.
  • Due to the way the iOS operates, an iPad or iPhone internal GPS will never display better than 5-10m accuracy. An external GPS receiver may perform better when a limited view of the sky is available to the iPad, and may provide more consistent fixes with better accuracy. See our buying guide for the current recommended accessories list.
  • For additional assistance, please contact the Pilot Support Team at team@foreflight.com.