How accurate is the GPS on an iPhone?

  1. I need to know how accurate the GPS is on an iPhone. We had guests over this evening and one of their iPhones disappeared. Using the GPS tracker it shows up at a neighbor house two lots down :P
  2. jcsd
  3. Maylis

    Maylis 790
    Gold Member

    It's usually pretty close, if you are moving slowly only a few feet. If you were driving on the freeway it can be more off
    1 person likes this.
  4. That sucks :P
  5. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    That information would seem to indicate that it's in the neighborhood. Where would the guest have left his/her iPhone? Was it left in a vehicle?

    I've found the GPS to be pretty accurate, depending on the cell service. But I think the GPS is accurate, but not necessarily the mapping.

    Did one use -
    1 person likes this.
  6. It was, at a neighbors house. Sunday evenings are a time for the parents with kids in tow to get together in the neighborhood. One of the kids, even though he has always been good, happened to make a dumb mistake and took the phone that night.

    GPS is a wonderful thing but it sucks to have to tell a parent that the locator is showing the missing phone in his child's bedroom.

    Unfortunately he ran off when confronted and after several frantic calls to other parents in the neighborhood (in case he was 'hiding out' in one of their places) we began our long night waiting as the police didn't locate him until he following evening.

    He is now safely home, Hooray!
    As usual, thanks everyone for the information and insights.
  7. jim mcnamara

    jim mcnamara 1,482
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Most handheld GPSr devices - that you can afford - average less than a 3m error. So you have a radius of three meters or possibly as much as 6 meters off (3+3). Say 25 feet.

    The iphone 1 had a very weak GPS chipset, iPhone 5 uses the new Qualcomm Gobi chipset. In places where there are multiple cellphone towers visible to the device, this new device is as accurate as the single purpose commodity GPSrs like Leica, Delorme, Garmin.

    Differential GPS for surveying has sub-centimeter accuracy. These gizmos are circa two orders of magnitude more expensive than a Garmin handheld, and are a lot heftier. They also require a base station located at a precisely known point on the Earth's surface. Even more dollars, pounds, or yen.
    timthereaper likes this.
  8. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Yikes, that's crazy! Glad it all got resolved, but that turned into a dangerous situation!
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