iEcosystem iPad

Enable / disable GPS Location Services on your iPad

One of the nice features that comes with every iPad (both Wi-Fi and 3G models) is the ability to pinpoint the current location of the device. This is useful, and used, by many applications that base their content on your current location, like restaurant recommendations for the area, specials and coupons in the shopping mall you're visiting, etc. By default, every app will first need to ask permission the first time it tries to access this personal information (this security / privacy measure is handled by iOS, the iPad's operating system). In this tutorial, you will learn how to enable or disable altogether all GPS / Location Services on your iPad, and quickly discuss the implications of either setting as they relate to privacy and functionality.

Turn off GPS on your iPad

Follow these steps to disable all location services for all iPad apps:

  • Access and customize iPad settings and preferences Locate the "Settings" icon on your iPad, and tap on it (if you cannot find it, press the Home button twice and type "settings" in the search field).
  • When the iPad Settings screen loads, "General" preferences will be automatically selected (if not, tap on "General" in the left pane).
  • In the third group of options, notice that you have a "Location Services" entry, which contains an On/Off switch, enabled by default (set to "On"). As a side note, if you see the word "On" inside a switch in your iPad settings, it means that the setting in question is currently On, not that you need to tap on it to set it to On.
  • To turn off and disable GPS and location services, tap once on the switch, and it will be "Off".
  • You are done, and you can return to your previous activity.

In some cases, an application will not be able to function properly without accessing geographical data, which can include knowing your current location; if so, the app will tell you that it needs your permission to access this information, and possibly  re-enable GPS location services (Google map is one example, as are real estate apps that allow you to search for houses in your area). In other cases, the application will let you manually enter your zip code or other geographical information instead.

Tip: what is the difference between "GPS" and "Location Services" on your iPad? GPS uses satellites to determine your current position on Earth; only 3G iPad models possess this functionality. Both 3G and Wi-Fi iPads can also use "triangulation" of closest wireless signals to determine your approximate location. GPS is part of "Location Services".

iPad Tutorial

Unless noted otherwise, these free iPad tutorials apply to Wi-Fi model and iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models, and updated to cover iOS 4.

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