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Apple squashes GPS bugApple squashes GPS bug

iOS 8.4 restores lost connectivityiOS 8.4 restores lost connectivity

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include results of further testing of iOS 8.4 since the June 30 release.
iOS 8.4, released June 30, restored connectivity between portable GPS sources and EFBs.

Thirteen weeks after an Apple software update disconnected many portable GPS accessories and taught many pilots a valuable lesson—it can be worth waiting to see how new updates perform—the June 30 release of iOS 8.4 offered relief, from that particular bug, at least.

Whether others might lurk in the volumes of code of an update best known for overhauling Apple’s music offerings remained to be seen, though ForeFlight announced an "all-clear" on July 2 after testing the latest Apple update.

Pilots who waited more than two months to see the little blue airplane appear on their iPad instead of a “No GPS” warning were surely tempted to update right away. In the first hours after the software became available to customers, an online search (and very limited testing on one particular iPad) revealed no signs of catastrophic glitches. The GPS position reported via Bluetooth by an older model Bad Elf GPS appeared (accurately) across a range of map and navigation apps used on the ground.

The Cupertino, California, digital goliath never responded to an AOPA Online inquiry about the bug when it was discovered in April, though developers including ForeFlight made it clear to Apple that the issue needed fixing. ForeFlight continues to recommend caution when it comes to any iOS update, "however our testing did not reveal any significant issues." Seattle Avionics sent a similar message to FlyQ EFB customers.

Hilton Software had previously announced a work-around for the iOS 8.3 bug (though it did not solve the problem for one writer’s installation, while iOS 8.4 did restore GPS connectivity in WingX Pro 7 paired with an older model Bad Elf portable GPS).

Apple devices able to connect to cellular data networks, or those paired with newer GPS accessories, were not affected by the position interruption. Apple plans to release iOS 9 in the fall.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web
Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Topics: Gear, EFB, Portable GPS

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