Apple Expands iPhone 4S GPS Capabilities with GLONASS Support

Apple yesterday quietly updated its iPhone 4S tech specs page to note that the device offers not only Assisted GPS but also GLONASS, the Russian version of GPS.


Just two weeks ago, Russia launched the last of 24 satellites required for global location coverage, setting the stage to restore GLONASS to its full operational status that had been lost amid economic turmoil in the country during the late 1990s.

Far from being a Russia-only service, some current global positioning hardware and software is capable of utilizing both GPS and GLONASS satellite information to provide more accurate geolocation information with faster acquisition times. We have reached out to Apple for comment on whether the iPhone 4S can in fact take advantage of satellites from both systems on a worldwide basis, as it is unclear from the tech specs whether this is the case, but have yet to receive a response.

Notably, only the tech specs page on the U.S. site has been updated to mention GLONASS capabilities, with the corresponding page in other iPhone 4S launch countries still listing only Assisted GPS as the device's satellite location service.

(Thanks, Jesse Perry!)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
115 months ago
Presumably this is because Russia has proposed a 25% import duty on devices that support GPS but not GLONASS. Most GPS chip suppliers have updated to support GLONASS, so Apple just needs to turn it on.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

We didn't need an expanded GPS capabilities, we need an redesign.


"We" mean "you" right?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

We didn't need an expanded GPS capabilities, we need an redesign.

Oh shut up! I am tired of hearing this crap. Really. The design that iPhone 4 gave us is ahead of it's time. So was the unibody Macbook Pro. They continue to use that design with internal spec bumps... so why can't the iPhone do this as well. I dunno about you, but I just don't see any company making smartphones as beautiful as the iPhone 4/4S with almost entirely glass externals and external antenna design. Antennagate aside, as long as you don't bridge that corner of the phone, iPhone 4 had the best reception of any iPhone.. and the 4S is even better while eliminating Antennagate!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
It's nice to have two systems to rely on for position data. It's always been a bit worrying that GPS is the only one; what if the US government decided to be paranoid and shut it down, or make it less accurate?

Now TWO countries have to be stupid to rob us from location data.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
I wander if it will support Gallilio when that comes online?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

We didn't need an expanded GPS capabilities, we need an redesign.


Come on, the current design is beautiful :) I'm serious. It is like the MacBook or the iMac, would you expect a radical redesign every year. Stay on topic. I'm sure there are a bunch of other threads where you can express your disappointment. What do you think about GLONASS support? Do you have to use your GPS in cities like New York, Los Angeles, etc. with high rises? I think a lot of people are going to be happy with the updated support. I actually have to get my foot out of my mouth as I wasn't expecting GLONASS support in the iPhone for a while. I thought it would lead to more battery consumption and there was no clamor for it. On the other hand I would understand that Russia would put pressure on Apple to support it if Apple wants to sell phones in Russia.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...