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 the iPad WiFi+Cellular (or iPhone 4 or later) to get a location fix in flight, the WiFi-only iPad model has no internal GPS receiver and so will only get a rough location fix when on the ground and near wifi access points (but will get good fixes in flight with an external GPS receiver listed on our buying guide).
  • On devices running iOS 8.2 and earlier, if you turn on "Airplane Mode" the GPS receiver will be disabled - instead we recommend you turn off cellular data and Wi-Fi for in flight use (for battery savings and to mitigate any chance of hearing interference in your headset). On iOS 8.3 and later, turning on Airplane Mode will not disable the GPS.
  • Make sure location services are turned ON for the system and specifically for ForeFlight. Check this in the main Settings application, under 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 at the bottom-right-column set Disable Ownship to OFF. 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 Settings > General > Date & Time.
  • If you know how to re-connect to your network, resetting the network settings has been proven to help. Do this in the main Settings application, under the General -> Reset view.
  • Resetting Location Warnings may help: do this in the main Settings application, under the General -> Reset view.
  • A cellular data connection is NOT required to get a GPS location fix. Nor is a 3G data plan with AT&T required.
  • Sometimes rebooting the iPad can fix a problem with getting your location.
  • In the Cirrus SR22 we have no trouble getting a GPS fix with the iPad in the pilot's lap, but other aircraft might not allow that positioning - make sure the iPad has a clear view of the sky.
  • The internal GPS is not WAAS and not "aviation" grade. While you can often get 5-10m accuracy fixes from it, it is not as reliable as an aviation handheld. Additionally there is a second or so lag in position updates compared to purpose-build aviation handhelds.
  • An external GPS receiver should perform better when a limited view of the sky is available to the iPad. Additionally external GPSs provide more consistent fixes. See our buying guide for the current recommended accessories list.