Turn on WiFi to improve location accuracy

iOS is beginning to grate on me.

For a long time I have referred to the iPhone range as “Fisher Price” phones — an accurate, if rather flippant — description, I feel. There is a reason you give your ageing parents an iPhone. It just works. There’s a lot of elegance and simplicity built right in. The familiarity of the home screen button is reassuring to everyone from a 2 year-old to a 62 year-old. 

Me? I use everything. BlackBerries, Androids, Windows Phones, the lot. My primary device is an iPhone, though. I have to standardise on something because the moribund mobile networks require it. 

My preference would be to select a phone either at random or for a specific function each morning and walk out the door. This is possible but it requires a 60-second arse about with sim cards, assuming all models will work with the same sim card. 

So I had to choose something: The iPhone. 

For the most part I am content with it. But simmering just a few millimetres from the surface is a significant amount of frustration at way in which I am forced to jump through the Cupertino-defined hoops. 

I can’t see when the next train is. 

I can’t get a quick glance at my inbox. 

I can’t glance at the headlines. 

Oh, I can, if I set it all up in the Apple-defined way of course: A bolt-on pull-down menu of alerts. An after-thought to try and compete with the uber-flexibility of Android.

I do look on in pure personal rage at Android friends who just glance at their phone and are immediately up to date. Or who turn over their phone when it rings because they’re ‘busy’ … and the phone understands that. I can get the same experience by pressing a few buttons. 

First world problems, obviously.

The rage boils over, though, when I have deliberately switched off WiFi for some reason and an application tries to use the location feature. Sure enough, every flipping time, a helpful little prompt appears: “Turn on WiFi to improve location accuracy.”

Well of course.

It will also take 2% off my battery. Which is why I’ve switched it off.

The prompt is incredibly helpful to the mobile phone newbie. Not for me though. Two or three times a day, I get this interruption. 

This is probably because I am over-managing my iPhone experience. I should probably just leave the flipping WiFi on, right? 

I don’t think it will be long before I find it time to hop to a new primary device.

I am obviously considering Android — especially the Sony Z2. I am very impressed with that device. 

And I am looking carefully at the world of Nokia Microsoft. I have my eye on the next generation PureView. 

Until then I will … turn on WiFi to improve location accuracy as prompted. 

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

18 replies on “Turn on WiFi to improve location accuracy”

Ewan, I’ve never been an iPhone/iPad fan, but I have tried. The main reason is that although simple things are incredibly simple, anything a bit more complex is far harder to achieve. As a long time Android user – originally Sony Ericsson as wanted to be loyal to my client, but then HTC and Samsung – I’ve just switched to Nokia. I borrowed a Windows Phone a year or so ago and liked it, but didn’t switch as there was too much I couldn’t do. I’ve now had a Lumia 1520 for the last 2/3 months and it’s by far and away the best phone/OS I’ve had. Very little I can’t do with it and most things are faster/easier than before.

Same applies to “uber flexible Android” which has so many glitches it is like something Microsoft designed, around 2002. I dont understand why either phone needs wifi on when gps was enough for my older, cheaper Nokia

Using WiFi is apparently a better way of locating the phone without using so much battery as the actual GPS module. Still extremely frustrating!

It does finally feel like the tides are turning, especially with the release of WP 8.1, and those that have spurned Windows Phone for so long are starting to realise it’s a serious competitor. The interface is so much cleaner, faster and more modern than iOS or Android. Personally, I have been using it since WP 7.5. Encouraging times…

Go for it Ewan. And Robert’s right about WP8.1. I’m using Cortana, despite being in the UK, simply by changing region. The only downside to this I’ve experienced is sometimes needing to switch back to the UK to install apps. Updates seem to work for the ‘wrong’ region, but not installing.

If you look around, you can pick up both the 925 and 1020 SIM free for under £300 now. If buying a new contract, I would wait till next month when the 930 is released.

Doesn’t your operator have some sorf of multicard option to save you swaping sims?

Warning. Try it first. See if the apps you like to use are written well on the Windows Phone platform. In my experience, several of my favorite apps are written very well on iOS and Android, but not on WP.

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