GPS – Enhancing Accuracy by Disabling Cellular Data


I need my iPhone 7 Plus GPS accuracy to be very precise (without continously changing the blue dot position). My cellular data connection is often sloppy. Does disabling cellular data improve GPS accuracy? Does the GPS depend on cellular data at all? I thought the GPS partially relied on cellular data to improve its accuracy.

Best Answer

Cellular has nothing to do with GPS - they are two distinct technologies. So disabling cellular will not increase/decease the accuracy of GPS

I thought the GPS partially relied on cellular data to improve its accuracy.

Cellular location data can augment GPS to improve the performance of location tracking (where you are), but it can't improve the accuracy of GPS.

There are four basic technologies that provide location data:

  • WiFi location data
  • Cellular location data
  • GPS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
  • iBeacon (Apple centric Bluetooth Low Energy)

Focusing on WiFi positioning, cellular positioning and GPS, all of them work in tandem to get your position.

Your iPhone location sensor (Broadcom BCM4774) is the receiver that GPS uses.

Cell Phone Tracking

Basically, cellular location tracking is done at the cell cite - which antenna you're connected to; it approximates your location and augments it with GPS data.

A cell phone’s location can be detected through cell site location information (CSLI) or global positioning system (GPS) data.

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WiFi Tracking

With WiFi positioning it takes a known quantity (the location of the associated AP) and measures the signal of the wireless client.

The most common and widespread localization technique used for positioning with wireless access points is based on measuring the intensity of the received signal (received signal strength indication or RSSI) and the method of "fingerprinting".

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GPS uses multiple signals to measure location. However, multiple factors like signal strength blockage, weather, etc. affect the signal. Accuracy, however, depends on the quality of the receiver (the chip in your phone) and the number of signals it uses.

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GPS is good down to the cm (centimeter range) and even down to mm, but to get this type of accuracy, it depends on the sensor being used.