Can Location Services Be Wrong?

We often take it for granted that the location services we use will automatically show the correct address. Whether you’re sending your location to a friend or looking for a new restaurant to visit, you don’t expect an app to show you the wrong place.

However, we know technology isn’t perfect. All kinds of errors happen all the time. But can location services be wrong? And if so, can you fix the problem? Learn more in this article.

Wrong Location Fixes You Can Try

Yes, locations services can sometimes display the wrong location. There are a few reasons for this, most of which you can solve quickly. The fixes we’re going to describe might differ slightly depending on your operating system. However, you’ll get the idea of what to do to get the right location on your mobile device.

1. Your Location Services Are Off

If you’ve accidentally turned off location services, your phone will probably keep showing the wrong location. You might have done it on purpose because you didn’t want to use them at a specific place for privacy reasons. Whatever the case, here’s how to turn them back on:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your smartphone or tablet.
  2. Open Privacy and choose Location services from the menu.
  3. Switch the toggle to turn them on.
  4. Make sure all the apps from the list below have permission to access your location.

On Android phones, you’ll find these settings under Location, or Security & Privacy. If you’re using an older Android version, the option is named Location access.

location services be wrong

2. A Particular App Isn’t Working

If your location is displayed wrong in only one app, that particular app might be causing issues, not your phone.

You can try to resolve this by opening the App Store or Google Play Store and checking for available updates. If you haven’t updated the app recently, that may cause bugs and mess with your location. Also, reinstalling the app or deleting the app data or cache may work. Ensure that the app can access your location. If none of these fixes work, try restarting your phone or turning off location, and then turning it back on.

If the app keeps showing the wrong location after trying all of these suggestions, you can visit the App Store or Google Play and report the issue.

3. You Haven’t Allowed Access to Your Location

If you’re having trouble with more than one app, it’s more likely that your phone settings are the problem. When installing apps that use your location at some point, you need to allow the apps to see your device’s location. They use it to improve your user experience and deliver their services appropriately.

You can check this by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Privacy and choose Location Services.
  3. Switch the toggle to On.
  4. Scroll down to the list of apps that have access to your location.
  5. If the app with the wrong location isn’t on the list, this may be the reason.

You probably denied access to this app when it first asked to see your location. To solve this, go to the list of all apps on your phone and find the desired one. Choose Permissions and make sure the Location toggle is on.

location services

4. Wi-Fi Issues

Wi-Fi, combined with Bluetooth or cellular networks, is usually faster than GPS signals. They’d need more time to determine your exact location.

However, if you connect at a place you’ve been to before, it will be even faster because you store this kind of information. Your home router is easily recognized, and your home location is determined more quickly than when you’re somewhere else. If you, for instance, move and keep the same router, you’ll connect just as quickly, but you might keep seeing the wrong place until it replaces the stored location with the new one.

Another issue is the stability of the connection. Sometimes, when the signal is too weak, your mobile device can’t determine your location. It may show the last place you’ve checked in, or a close location, but not accurately enough.

5. Resetting Location Data on iOS

Are you unable to determine what’s causing the problem? If so, you can try one of these fixes to help your phone determine your new location: disable frequently visited locations or reset location settings.

To disable the use of frequently visited locations, do the following:

  1. Open Settings and then Privacy.
  2. Find Location Services, and from these, choose System Services.
  3. From this menu, select Frequent Locations.
  4. Tap the toggle to turn them off.

Resetting your location might also solve the problem.

  1. Open Settings and navigate to General.
  2. Find the Reset section and tap to open.
  3. From there, select Reset Location & Privacy.
  4. Enter your iOS password, and your location will be reset.

6. Improving Location Accuracy on Android

Android devices have a few options for improving your location accuracy by using different services and sensors, such as Wi-Fi networks or nearby Bluetooth devices. You can enable the options by following the instructions below:

  1. Open Settings on your Android phone and choose Location or Security & Privacy, depending on the OS version you’re using.
  2. Tap on Location access and then Advanced settings.
  3. Make sure both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles are on.
  4. Go back to the previous screen and find the Location services section.
  5. Tap on Google Location Accuracy.
  6. Make sure the toggle is on.
can location services wrong

Technology Is(n’t) Perfect

Location services include multiple processes, data collection and storage, signal reception, and more. Of course, it’s not error-proof, so your mobile device may sometimes display a wrong location. Luckily, there are simple ways to fix the error and go back to the accurate location.

Have you been seeing the wrong location on your device? Try some of these fixes and let us know how it went in the comments section below.

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