How to Reset the GPS on an iPhone

GPS turns your iPhone into a mobile navigation system, and many apps rely on GPS to function properly. Dating apps use location data to set a distance perimeter, maps are tied to your location, and even search settings for local results are influenced by GPS. If your GPS is not functioning properly, a number of simple steps can prompt a GPS reset and recalibrate the iPhone GPS location settings.

Image Credit: Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/GettyImages

Determine the iPhone GPS Issues

Try to determine what is happening with your GPS. Start by checking your service. Some apps don't function properly unless you have a strong cellular or Wi-Fi connection, while others can use GPS in an offline mode. For example, the map tracking app, OnX Maps makes it possible to download maps that function even when GPS is offline. If the GPS is not working at all or the location is off while your iPhone receives a strong signal, you may need to reset the GPS. However, check multiple apps before jumping to this conclusion. A consistent error means your GPS is the possible culprit. If only one app misbehaves, you have identified the culprit.

Check Your Permissions

GPS may not work properly with apps that require permission to use your location settings. When you first download these apps, they automatically request permission to use your location. If you deny the permission, GPS functionality does not work on the apps. Grant permission to the app that is not working to activate the location settings.

Restart Location Services

Check your Wi-Fi settings. Working with a weak Wi-Fi signal has the same effects as working with a weak cellular signal. It bogs down apps, and your location settings won't work properly. Head into the privacy settings and find the location services option. The green slider indicates the services are active. Toggle the location services setting to the off position and wait for a minute for turning it back to the on position. This simple restart might trigger your phone to calibrate the iPhone GPS. Also, check your cell data to ensure your carrier has not slowed the app functionality to a halt, which affects app functions and can cause iPhone GPS issues.

Reset the Phone

Your phone may require an easy reset to fix minor software bugs and return to normal functionality. When you execute a soft reset, it should restore GPS settings to normal. If this fails, a larger hardware problem may exist that requires a visit to an Apple Store.

To reset the location settings, open the "Settings" app and select "General" and "Reset." Tap "Reset Location & Privacy." You can also opt to reset all the settings in this same menu. Beware the "Erase All Content and Settings" choice, though, unless you want to restore the iPhone to its factory settings. This final option would likely fix any GPS software problem, but you lose all history, apps, pictures and anything performed or saved after you got the phone. The iPhone is empty of all your settings and data, and you must rely on a backup to repopulate the phone with your information.