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Location Service Issues on iPads (WiFi Only Models)

Some WiFi only models of iPads do not have the hardware to read the Global Positioning System (GPS) signal. Only a hardware based GPS will provide you with an accurate position and require a clear view of satellites, i.e. GPS does not generally work inside. See the detailed specifications on the Apple website to determine if your iPad has the GPS hardware required to get Location Services when out and about.

iPad Mini 2 Screen

Without hardware GPS the WiFi iPad needs some other mechanism to support the Location Services (used by the maps and other Apps). This is done via the WiFi connection to the Internet. The location of the iPad is determined through software accessing the WiFi router. For the location finding to work for the iPad:

  1. It must be able to connect to the Internet (browse to a web page).
  2. Location Services must be turned on. (See Settings and Privacy.)
  3. The WiFi router's location on the Internet must be known, not always the case, especially for Internet users that share a cable in their street (e.g. BT Internet).

To resolve Location Services issues you could try the following:

  1. Use the reset options in Settings. Then General and Reset. Use Reset Network Settings then Reset Location and Privacy. Do not reconnect to your WiFi.
  2. Ensure Location Services are turned on. In Settings then Privacy and Location Services.
  3. Connect the iPad to another WiFi point to determine that the Location Service is working correctly. E.g. connect to a router in a cafe, or friends router in another location. Open the map App.

This will determine if the problem is related to the iPad or your home WiFi router.

For the iPad, staff in Apple stores are normally very helpful in resolving software issues. It is normally best to book an appointment, hopefully you have an Apple store nearby. Otherwise try a full iPad reset through the Reset options under General in Settings. (Some user's have reported running the battery down to zero and then fully charging and resetting have sort iPad software issues.)

For the router if you know someone who has an iPhone get them to connect to your WiFi, this will update Apple servers with the router's location. It can take a few weeks for the location to be registered and filtered down to your iPad.

If you purchased a WiFi only iPad version, thinking that it supported GPS, and Location Services are not working when not connected to a WiFi hotspot, then you probably do not have a model with GPS built in. You can check on the Apple website to see if a iPad model has GPS hardware. If you cannot get the purchased iPad upgraded to a model with GPS and still require GPS functionality there are a couple of options. Firstly if you own a iPhone you can tether your iPad to your iPhone via Bluetooth. Secondly you can purchase a plug in an Apple approved GPS module. Both options allow the WiFi only iPad to use Location Services when not connected to a WiFi hotspot.

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