How-to fix ‘Unable to determine your location’ Google Maps error on an iPhone

Smartphone map

How iPhone location services work

Your location is determined by Location Services. This allows Apps like Maps, Camera, and Compass to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System (GPS) networks to work out your location.

If you can’t be seen by the GPS then your position is calculated using Wi-Fi. If you’re not in range of any Wi-Fi, your device can determine your location using cellular towers.

The accuracy of your location on the map is based on the ability of your iPhone to access all of the location methods. If your device is unable to access one, or more of the services then your location becomes less accurate or you may not be found at all.

If you are located you will see a blue marker. If your location can’t be determined precisely, a blue circle also appears around the marker. The size of the circle depends on how precisely your location can be determined—the smaller the circle, the greater the precision.


Blue location marker with a circle

If you get an error then the most likely cause is that you are not visible to the GPS satellite, don’t have a Wi-Fi signal, and are out of range of any cell towers. However, sometimes the error persists when you are in range of some or all of these services.

If this is something you are suffering from then the first thing to try is to check if the location services are enabled. If they are, try turning location services off, then on again.

Turning Location Services on or off

On an older iPhone running iOS 6 or older you can turn Location Services on or off at Settings > Location Services.

On a newer iPhone running iOS 7 or newer Location Services is turned off under Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Location Services is on by default, but you can turn it off. You can individually control which apps have access to Location Services data too.

If this does not cure the problem then it may be that you haven’t granted access to Location Services for the Google Maps App. You can check this in Settings > Location Services on iOS6 or older or in Settings > Privacy > Location Services in iOS 7 or newer.

Scroll through the list until you see Google Maps and make sure it is set to either ‘While using the App’ or ‘Always’. Personally I don’t like Apps tracking me in the background when I don’t want them to so I set it to ‘While using the App’.

How to fix the error

If you get an error on your iPhone or iPad which says “Unable to determine your location” then do the following:

For iOS 7 to iOS 14

1. Press the Home button on your iPhone and choose Settings.

iOS9 upgrade - settings

2. Scroll down and click ‘General’

iOS 9 Settings > General

3. Scroll to the bottom and tap on ‘Reset’

general > reset

4. Click ‘Reset Location & Privacy’

reset > location

5. You will be asked to put in a passcode (if you have one set).

5. Go back to Google Maps and you will be prompted if you want Maps to be able to use location services. Say you agree and the problem will be fixed.

For iOS 6 and older

1. Press the Home button on your iPhone and choose Settings.

iphone settings

2. Scroll down and click ‘General’

3. Scroll to the bottom and tap on ‘Reset’

4. Click ‘Reset Location Warnings’

5. Go back to Google Maps and you will be prompted if you want Safari to be able to use location services. Say you agree and the problem will be fixed.

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