External GPS devices and iOS 6.1.2 / 6.1.3

NOTE:  since publishing this post, the one workaround that seems to work best is to turn off “time zone” support in iOS. Open your device’s Settings, select the Privacy tab, then select Location Services.  At the bottom of the page select System Services.  You see several options.  One of them is “Setting Time Zone”.  Turn it off.  Then restart the device.

A week ago Scott Lindsay, a CloudAhoy user, reported a problem: after upgrading to Apple’s iOS 6.1.2, his Dual XGPS150 stopped working with both CloudAhoy and with ForeFlight running on his iPad (Scott’s name is used with his permission).

I did not succeed in recreating the problem on CloudAhoy’s devices using a variety of external GPS devices under iOS 6.1.2.  All my GPSs worked just fine with CloudAhoy.

Then several other users reported a similar problem with their external GPSs after upgrading to iOS 6.1.2.

It appears that iOS 6.1.2 may have  a new bug which affects some users.  The symptoms according to Scott: CloudAhoy correctly displays the name of the external GPS, and Dual’s Status Tool app shows good reception, but no GPS data arrives at the app.

If  you have not upgraded yet to iOS 6.1.2, I suggest not to upgrade.  Stay with 6.1.

If you have already upgraded, pre-flight your configuration on the ground as follows, to check whether you are affected by the bug.

  • Set Airplane Mode, to disable the internal GPS.
  • Enable Bluetooth.
  • Turn on your external GPS, let it run for a minute or two so it locks on satellite signals.
  • Start CloudAhoy and verify that the GPS is listed in the GPS field.
  • Tap START and check whether you get a green light.  If you do, you are not affected by the bug.


The following seems to fix the problem.

  1. Open the device’s Settings.
  2. Tap General, scroll down and tap Reset.
  3. Select Reset Location & Privacy.  Tap Reset.
  4. After this reset, each app using the GPS (CloudAhoy after tapping START, ForeFlight, etc.) will ask for permission to use your current location. It’s a one-time only thing.
  5. Check  whether the problem is solved.  If you like, share your experience here in this log.

A user published the following workaround on CloudAhoy’s Facebook page .  See the Facebook page for the complete message.

…  they sent me an email saying that I should turn off “time zone” support in the Privacy/Locations tab and reboot the iDevice.  So far, this seems to have worked!


A brief history of iOS problems with external GPSs:

  • Apple’s iOS 5.x – no problem, works perfectly.
  • Apple’s iOS 6.0, released in September 2012, had a bug that adversely affected the use of all external bluetooth GPS devices.  This blog reported  the problem.
  • Apple’s iOS 6.1, released January 28 2013, had a fix to the external GPS problem.  Works perfectly.
  • Apple’s iOS 6.1.2, released 2/19/2013, may have a new bug related to bluetooth GPS devices.
  • Apple’s iOS 6.1.3, released 3/19/2013, seems to have the same bug as 6.1.2.
  • Apple’s iOS 7.0, beta 6/2013, seems to have the bug fixed (more experimentation needed though)

16 Responses to External GPS devices and iOS 6.1.2 / 6.1.3

  1. Dave says:

    Happened to me today. If you check out my last flight you can see that it was tracked, but it did not have good resolution.

  2. Another Dave says:

    My last few flights have started ok, but lose connection during the flights and sometimes pick back up at the end. Will have to see if this is causing the issue.

  3. chuckshavit says:

    I edited the post and added a workaround.

  4. kennethpkatz says:

    I have had no end of problems with iOS 6 and my external GPS. Basically it makes my iPad unusable for aviation because I can’t rely on it.

  5. chuckshavit says:

    iOS 6.1.3 is out, and from first indications it does not look like the 6.1.2 bug has been fixed.

    • TwinBeech says:

      I have iOS 6.1.3, and it still has the bug. However, your workaround seems to work fine on the ground. I haven’t tried it in the air yet, but surmise it will work ok.

  6. Laurie McGavran says:

    I have had sporadic problems, but if I once get a green light, the entire flight has been recorded well. Occasionally I had the same problem before upgrading to iOS 6.1.x. I have not tried resetting location and privacy, but I did try turning off and on Location Services. Also tried having the iPad forget the Dual and then paired the devices again. What always eventually has worked, though it took two attempts last time, is forgetting the Network Settings. Between re-pairing the device, turning on the Airplane mode, turning on Bluetooth, and forgetting the Network Settings, I have been able to establish solid communication between the Dual and CloudAhoy. The order of these things may matter, or maybe it is something else. Persistence has eventually always paid off. So far. Forgetting network settings is a pain because you have to enter them again next time you want to use the network. Currently using 6.1.2.

  7. chuckshavit says:

    Hi Laurie. Thanks for the useful tips. It seems that the bug affects mostly newer equipment – iPhone 5′s and iPad minis. My guess is that the bug might be related to the bluetooth hardware in these new devices. By now it’s clear that 6.1.3 also has the same bug. So we have to wait for the next version for a fix.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have an iPad 2. I think I saw the problem with 6.1, thought that could be wrong. Pretty sure the last 5.x was OK.

  8. Steve Holden says:

    Thanks for posting this.
    Have the same problem on my wifi-only iPad 3, with an XGPS (which until now have been very reliable together).
    Whilst the Dual GPS Status Tool shows the XGPS to be functioning, no app using Location Services (Apple Maps, TomTom, RouteBuddy) receive GPS data.
    The suggested fixes aren’t working for me, and neither does re-powering the iPad or re-pairing it with the XGPS.
    Hoping for a fix in 6.1.4 soon :-/

    • Laurie McGavran says:

      I was going to try a power down next time I had the problem; I guess it may not help. I would recommend persistence. I spent about 20 minutes re-setting the network settings, re-pairing the bluetooth, and turning off and on the location services – over and over, in different orders! Finally, the thing started to work. I have a Dual and an iPad 2, Wi-Fi only. Same symptoms you had. It has been working for a while now.

  9. James Carlson says:

    iPad 2, iOS 6.1.3, WingX, and XGPS150. The order of things I’ve found to be reliable is this: delete the pairing, reset location & privacy (only), reboot the iPad, add the pairing back, go into the Dual GPS Status app and wait for it to be stable, then start WingX and tell it you want to allow it to use location. It’s then stable.

    To make it unstable again, start any other application that uses location services. Starting (for instance) iFlightPlanner causes the connection to drop away.

  10. chuckshavit says:

    I have updated the original message. A user posted a surprising workaround on Facebook – see above.

  11. Is there any indication that this problem will be fixed in iOS 7?

    • chuckshavit says:

      In the next couple of weeks we will test iOS 7 vis a vis this bug and report in this post.

      • chuckshavit says:

        I have logged 4 flights with both beta iOS 7.0.1 and 7.0.2, using external GPSs. Three flights with an iPhone, (7.0.1+7.0.2) and one flight with an iPad (7.0.2). No problems. So I’m cautiously optimistic.

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