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.

iphone 4s glonass
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!)

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Tuesday May 21, 2024 7:29 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...

Top Rated Comments

BruiserB Avatar
165 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)
Memo86 Avatar
165 months ago
We didn't need an expanded GPS capabilities, we need an redesign.

"We" mean "you" right?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Agent OrangeZ Avatar
165 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)
zorinlynx Avatar
165 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)
jon1987 Avatar
165 months ago
I wander if it will support Gallilio when that comes online?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Huracan Avatar
164 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)