Smartphones, airplane mode, and GPS

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  1. #1
    Edd's Avatar
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    Smartphones, airplane mode, and GPS

    Something weird happened when I was on a trip in Iceland last week and I'm hoping someone on the board is knowledgeable about this topic. I've Googled it but there seems to be confusion.



    I kept my iPhone in airplane mode all week while I was there. Before leaving the states, I had downloaded maps of Iceland onto the phone using the Google maps app. I was thinking it would be useful for walking directions through the city.

    What I did not expect was that the app, even while in airplane mode, would track my location while using it. This happened during long drives in remote areas and in the city. I was not connected to wifi when this happened.

    So, there are two possibilities. Either my phone was talking to towers, which seems impossible in airplane mode, or it was talking to satellites, which I didn't think was possible at all.

    Anyone know how the app was tracking my location?

  2. #2
    I do not know how, but have noticed the same thing. GPS is very separate from data or any other cell service. Would also be interested to hear if it is the satellites, which would be my guess, but I know nearly nothing about cell phones... so it might be very uneducated.

  3. #3
    Not satellites. Do you location services enabled on the phone?
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  4. #4
    Edd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puck it View Post
    Not satellites. Do you location services enabled on the phone?
    For the app, while in use, yes. How would towers track in airplane mode, though? Additionally, I have no international plan in place, to the extent that that matters.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Edd View Post
    For the app, while in use, yes. How would towers track in airplane mode, though? Additionally, I have no international plan in place, to the extent that that matters.
    Under general privacy.
    Live, Ski or Die Trying!!!
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  6. #6
    Edd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puck it View Post
    Under general privacy.
    I'm aware of where the settings are. I'm guessing you're telling me that the location setting will override airplane mode.

    If that's correct, it's cool that you can do that overseas. Hopefully, there's no charge. It seems it would be a stretch to charge someone. The whole point of the offline maps is not using data while using the maps app.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Edd View Post
    I'm aware of where the settings are. I'm guessing you're telling me that the location setting will override airplane mode.

    If that's correct, it's cool that you can do that overseas. Hopefully, there's no charge. It seems it would be a stretch to charge someone. The whole point of the offline maps is not using data while using the maps app.
    http://www.computerworld.com/article...ps-itbwcw.html

    Older phones needed GPS receivers to be accurate.

  8. #8
    That would truly suck if they charged you... you did everything right on the surface by putting the phone in airplane mode. If you were supposed to know that location services overruled airplane mode, that's a little extreme in my opinion.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jully View Post
    That would truly suck if they charged you... you did everything right on the surface by putting the phone in airplane mode. If you were supposed to know that location services overruled airplane mode, that's a little extreme in my opinion.
    iPhones have a gps.

  10. #10
    Edd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benski View Post
    iPhones have a gps.
    It appears you're correct; so it was satellites, in my case. I'd been Goggling airplane mode, location tracking, how does it track in airplane mode, and seeing every answer under the sun.

    The implications of that are great in terms of saving data. I only have a 2 GB limit so I'm very careful with using maps apps. I'm going to start downloading offline maps for trips from now on. This was the first time I'd done that so the fact that it was tracking location blew my mind.

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