Will any of the Garmins have better GPS than phone?


Well-known member
I would wager a guess that the paranoid types at the pentagon, CIA, NSA have a way to limit the usage of GPS satellites when they think it is needed.
I think the way you worded your question may have thrown most of the responders off. Most phones nowadays have a pretty decent GPS receiver in them and can receive enough GPS sats to give you a location just about anywhere a standalone GPS device might work. That said, most of the navigation apps that come with a cell phone rely on getting their "map data" via cellular or wifi, whichever you're connected to at a given time. If you're out in the boonies with no cellular service or other wifi connection, your GPS app will not have any data to generate a map for you. In some cases the app might give you Lat/Lon that you could use to locate yourself on a paper map even if you didn't have a map display on your phone, but that's not exactly ideal.

There are a number of 3rd part GPS apps that allow you to download map data for the area you're planning to be in so that you don't need cellular or wifi connection to the internet to download map data. I have been using a couple programs on my iPhones over the years and they work great...I can download map/road data for most areas of the world, having used the apps extensively in Japan, Europe, MX, CAN and the Caribbean. Pocket Earth has been my most used app although I've tried many. A search will turn up many options for you to try.



That does sound like app that has stopped or hung up. Did the position resolve on it's own or did you have to re-start your phone?
I was camped at one spot for about 36 hours. I had cellular service , so was able to restart** the phone several times over a period of hours. I'd quit Gaia, then turn Gaia back on, then maybe get my real position for a few seconds, but quickly Gaia would revert to placing me back in that same wrong location. Somehow, Gaia was stuck or fixated on one geographic spot that I had travelled through the previous day. The false location went away when I started driving away from that 36-hour campsite location. Both the iPhone and Gaia have worked normally since.
**Based on an experience with my previous iPhone 5, do not restart an iPhone without either cellular or wifi data being present. It will be a "temporary brick" until it can connect to the mother ship.


I had a similar problem with my Iphone 6 that is only used for gaia in the backcountry.

It never fully recovered to normal, until a month later when I replaced the GPS antenna and cable.
After that, all good.

Bill Ruttan

New member
I will see if I can find it but given it was so long ago I doubt it. The premise was we were at war and we did not want an enemy to use the data against us for their bombs. So they talked about manipulating the GPS coordinates so the bombs would only go to locations of no impact. Our systems would have the data to adjust for this.

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Love use of “no impact” in discussion about bombs!


Most of the time, the Gaia app on my iPhone is accurate enough for my amateur purposes. However, I have occasionally gotten a false location from an iPhone Xr running Gaia. It's unknown to me how much is iPhone/iOS, how much the Gaia app, and how much is the interface between the two. I have never [that I know of] gotten false location with either of the 2 modern Garmin units I've owned, Montana 650T (2011) and the new Montana 700i(2021). Most recently, in March of 2021, it took the Gaia app about 24 hours to finally stop telling me that I was ≈30 miles away from where I knew I was. Very annoying.
If there is another phone around that is setup as a Wifi Hotspot and the hotspot is turned on (to share the cellular network with a laptop, etc), then the location service inside your phone may see that hotspot and think you are where the Apple/Google WiFi location service learned that the hotspot "is".

I've typically seen this happen with WiFi routers that are used at conventions or other events - the location of the WiFi router is crowdsourced at one location and when it gets moved, everyone near it starts getting locations that say they're back where the crowdsourcing happened. Eventually, crowdsourcing "learns" the new location of the WiFi router and everything goes back to normal.

The same thing can happen with a phone that's acting as a hotspot if the crowdsourcing system doesn't recognize the phone as something that moves around. There's a convention for naming WiFi hotspot/router SSID's so that Android/Google will not crowdsource it's location, but I haven't heard of something similar for iOS.

Try turning off WiFi on the phone/tablet with Gaia running if it happens again and see if it gets better.


Active member


Try turning off WiFi on the phone/tablet with Gaia running if it happens again and see if it gets better.
I don't remember whether whether or not wifi was turned on at the time; I'll certainly try turning off wifi next time it happens.


To consider is the antenna.. the gps antenna could be much better than smartphone antenna. For example my Garmin Gps62 has an helix antenna which from my experience works much better than Garmin patch antenna on e-trex series.

This article shows the result of test between a smartphone and a gos unit. The writer has several other gos and smartphone articles.


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In the past, using my phone as a GPS worked ok as long as I had signal or the phone plugged into a power supply. GPS on the phone worked fine after loss of signal but using GPS and searching for a signal the phone went thru the battery like Charlie Sheen thru a line of coke.