…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
So I have this neighbour/client who has an iPad and she was trying to use the Find Friends app, but it shows her location incorrectly, like, 200 miles away, and sometimes the location changes even though she is at home. It’s almost like it is reporting the location of another, roaming, device.
It seemed at first like it was a fault with the app, but that’s part of the iPad’s OS, so one can’t reinstall it without resetting the iPad. Then a similar fault was found with the Facebook app reporting the wrong location also when she was trying to list an item for sale, and her location is wrongly tagged in her photos too. When she contacted Apple they suggested the iPad was faulty and she would indeed need to reset it.
She connects via WiFi with her BT broadband connection and when I tried the iPad round my house over my WiFi (provided by a different broadband company) the location was immediately correct… then back at her house and on her WiFi, wrong again (apparently I had travelled 200 miles on foot in a few minutes).
We reset the iPad… and the fault persists.
Curiously, part of our resetting process involved logging into her iCloud account on her PC to reset a password and a confirmation e-mail of this was delivered to the iPad… along with the location of that PC… which was also wrong, although different again.
I tried to investigate further by visiting a website that would tell us our location based on our IP address but I couldn’t find anything to help with this (how can Apps do it, but not a website?) At this point it seemed like it could be either a fault with her BT broadband connection, or with her BT Hub 3.0 which was reported by others online to cause this problem (also on Android devices), so we contacted BT.
BT were no help. They pointed the blame at the iPad even though we had produced a similar fault when using the PC to log into iCloud. BT tried to get us to pay them for technical support but that’s what I was there for. I tried to request a replacement BT Hub since indications at this point suggested that was a common denominator in these cases, but they refused.
Since BT refused to supply an alternative router I tried another router of my own (a Netgear) and the fault was the same. Therefore the fault lay between the iPad/Apple and the BT broadband connection. A final check I suggested was to try an Android tablet, but we have not had the chance to do this yet.
It seemed to me that the way Apple were determining a location based on an IP address when connected over a BT Broadband connection could cause these incorrect locations. Maybe BT had the wrong address assigned to her account/IP address in some system somewhere. I couldn’t explain it any better than this and could provide no solution other than to “change from BT”. Maybe it’s not provider-specific but BT are a common provider.
Furthermore, it is frustrating that one cannot override the location being reported. This might of course lead to people abusing various apps, but if your location is blatantly wrong, or you need some other address to be reported (such as on Facebook if you are trying to list an item for sale that is back at home while you are not home).