How to use iPhone GPS without being in Airplane Mode

So this is a non traditional post for my blog but want to help people travelling with their iphone as it took me so long to figure this out and I could not google it.  Last year I went to Taiwan and was told by both Apple and Rogers to leave my phone in Airplane mode and I will be able to log into wifi but will not get calls or texts (saving me a massive bill).  It was great except I love using my iphone for photos and as a map.  When I got home I realized only photos taken in WiFi zones were geotagged to the map and the rest had no info.  I also used CityMaps2Go ( and found I couldn’t navigate without being near Wifi.


Click Settings –> Carrier –> Automatic –> OFF

This allows you to choose which carrier or no carrier.  This also leaves your GPS on.  So you can have all photos tagged and CityMaps2Go navigation works as long as you download the map of your choice when you find WiFi.  Airplane mode is great for on the plane but the issue is it also shuts off the GPS.

STEP ONE: Click Settings then Carrier

Step 1

STEP TWO: Turn “Automatic” OFF and do not select one of the carriers shown.

Step 2

STEP THREE: Open CityMaps2Go and click the arrow in the bottom left and enjoy navigation (once you pre-download map)

City Maps 2 Go

This was done on an iPhone 4S  software 6.1.3 from Rogers



Some people said they couldn’t get it to work this way, so an alternative way is to just remove the SIM card! I tried this in Taiwan and worked fine all month!


5 responses to “How to use iPhone GPS without being in Airplane Mode”

  1. Anthony says :

    I’m trying this, but when I switch automatic to off, it’s stays connected to a network. When i go back in, it automatic is back on. Any thoughts?

    • Mr. Zoras says :

      Hey! The other option is to remove your sim! I actually ran into this problem in Taiwan. In the states the method I posted worked but here in Taiwan it didn’t and I just removed my sim and everything including GPS is just fine. I just removed the sim while the phone was still on and it just says no sim. Hope that works for you!

  2. Chris says :

    Do I need to unlock the phone first to do this? I don’t have the Carrier option

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