Why does iPhone Location Jump Around? Four Possible Reasons!

Why does iPhone Location Jump Around

You are using iPhone and suddenly it jumps to a completely different location? If this has ever happened with you. You’re not alone. Many iPhone users have reported this strange phenomenon. But why does iPhone Location Jump Around? Here’s an explanation of the weird jumpy location issue on iPhones and what you can do about it.

If you’ve been tracking the location of an iPhone, you may notice the exact location bouncing around. The iPhone might be near your house in one instant and then in another city in the next. It may seem scary if you’re tracking your child or partner’s iPhone.

So why does the iPhone’s location keep changing so often? The main reason is the iPhone tracker couldn’t determine the exact location. So it keeps guessing the current position with the available data.

With that said, there are three other reasons why the location may jump around. And it might be a deliberate attempt too.

iPhone can’t determine the exact location

Why does iPhone Location Jump Around

As already mentioned, the iPhone location jumps around because the tracking system couldn’t find the precise location. To better understand it, let’s look at how location tracking works.

All Apple devices are equipped with location trackers. These are used to pinpoint the exact location of a user. They use GPS data, Wi-Fi hotspot information, and cell tower data for that purpose.  

Cell tower data is preferred over the other two since it’s more precise. But when it’s not available, Apple will use the GPS data or the crowd-sourced Wi-FI database to determine the location. While these are useful, they’re not accurate.

For example, Apple may obtain certain information like GPS, travel speed, and barometric pressure anonymously when you use public Wi-Fi. And it will keep updating its records until it pinpoints the location. Till that time, the iPhone location may jump around a bit.

If you see the location shifting rapidly, then the person carrying the iPhone might be traveling with cellular data turned off. Or they are in a region where data connectivity is not reliable.

Why does iPhone Location Jump Around

Dynamic IP Address

All devices connected to the internet have an IP address. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns a particular IP address for your iPhone. When you connect to other servers, you connect with this IP address. 

There are two types of IP addresses assigned by ISPs, which are static and dynamic. The IP address remains constant in static, whereas the IP address keeps changing in dynamic.

Dynamic IP addresses are more common than static because they’re cost-effective. So when you’re browsing the internet through the home Wi-Fi, your IP address will keep changing, and you may not even notice.

Since the iPhone uses IP address as one of the factors for determining location, it may cause the location to jump around.

Even when the iPhone is inside the house, under the couch, you may experience that fluctuation. But rest assured, this is temporary and will get resolved on its own.

iPhone is using a VPN software

Why does iPhone Location Jump Around

A VPN or Virtual Private Network may trigger the same problem. With growing privacy concerns, a growing number of people are using a VPN.

VPNs allow users to browse the internet through multiple IP addresses. Since the mobile apps — including the iPhone location tracker — use the IP address to determine location, they get affected by this change.

Certain VPN software keeps bouncing the IP address to make the connections secure and anonymous. Consequently, the iPhone location may bounce with it too.

Once the iPhone user disconnects from the VPN server, the situation will get back to normal. But till then, the location will keep changing dramatically.

The iPhone is using location spoofing

Why does iPhone Location Jump Around

Location spoofing is a deliberate attempt to manipulate the device’s exact location. It requires installing a particular type of software that can fake the GPS settings.

While location spoofing apps aren’t available for iPhone (at least not in the App Store), there are services like 3uTools designed for that purpose. You can download the software onto your desktop (Mac or Windows), connect the iPhone, and manipulate the GPS information.

There are various reasons why someone may spoof their location. Gaining access from another location — just like a VPN — is one of the reasons. Teenagers may try to fake their location for fun.

The iPhone tracker corrects the location once cellular data is on or the device gets connected to a Wi-Fi.

FAQs

Q1: How accurate is the iPhone location?

A: iPhone location tracking is very accurate and reliable. It uses your cellular data, GPS data, and Wi-Fi hotspot information to determine your precise location. Accuracy also depends on the strength of the connection. Unstable connections will reduce the accuracy of the tracker.

Q2: Can someone mess with the location on iPhone?

A: Various apps let you spoof your location. Known as location spoofing apps, these change the GPS data Apple collects from your iPhone. Incorrect GPS data would mean an incorrect location. So yes, someone changes their location on iPhone.

Q3: Can Share My Location be wrong on iPhone?

A: Share My Location in Find My app is highly accurate. But the precision would depend on cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS data. The more data the iPhone tracker can get, the more precise the location will be.

Q4: Does the use of VPN change iPhone location?

A:  Yes, VPN does change the location of the iPhone. VPN software route the traffic through virtual IP addresses that might originate from another country. The iPhone tracker will record this data and assume that you’re in a foreign country.

Conclusion

It’s not typical for the iPhone location to bounce. The location tracker is quite reliable. But under some circumstances, like the ones mentioned above, you may see fluctuations. That should be temporary. The location would get stable once the iPhone tracker has enough reliable data.

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About the Author: Alice Bahn

Alice has joined the team after years as an avid apple fan and user, from macs, iPhones to the watch and airpods you know she has and used all the devices and became an expert in the field.