Apple iOS 8.3 Causes GPS Incompatibility Issues

 - June 19, 2015, 1:54 PM

After upgrading to Version 8.3 of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, pilots who use Apple devices coupled wirelessly to external GPS receivers found that many of these receivers no longer worked with their iPads and iPhones. Manufacturers of external GPS devices reported widespread problems with iOS 8.3. Apple has not responded to AIN’s requests for more information. The next version of iOS, 8.4, is due out soon (or might have been deployed as this issue went to press) and reportedly has fixed the compatibility problem.

GPS makers Dual Electronics, Bad Elf and Garmin reported compatibility problems with iOS 8.3. Garmin released a firmware update that resolved issues with its GLO external GPS. Dual Electronics users were able to use a workaround that allowed Hilton Software’s WingX Pro7 app to work with Dual’s XGPS units. And the problem seemed to affect some Bad Elf GPSs but not the Bad Elf Pro+.

WingX Pro7 was able to get iOS 8.3 to work with the Dual XGPS160 and XGPS160 because, “In addition to the standard Core Location Services offered by Apple’s iOS, several versions ago our engineering team built an alternate method to get location data from the XGPS150 and XGPS160 into WingX Pro7. This simple fix tells iOS not to use the broken Core Location Services to send GPS data to WingX Pro7; instead WingX Pro7 uses the alternate method and it works,” explained Hilton Software.

Many app makers urged their customers not to upgrade to iOS 8.3 if they hadn’t already done so.

Avionics & Systems Integration Group issued a customer bulletin, reminding iPad users that its flyTab XFB system isn’t subject to problems such as the GPS incompatibility issue in iOS 8.3. This is because the flyTab system doesn’t use wireless communication between the iPad and sensors such as GPS, but is hard-wired to these sensors installed in the aircraft.