Sunday, March 18, 2012

Apple iOS 8.3 Causes GPS Issues for Pilots

airplane

A surprising number of pilots and navigators use Apple devices (specifically iPads) in conjunction with traditional GPS devices. However, AIN online released a report last Friday that several GPS manufacturers including Garmin, Dual Electronics and Bad Elf reported that the most recent Apple update, 8.3, has caused widespread compatibility issues with external GPS receivers such as the Bad Elf GPS.

From what I can gather, this incompatibility issue has been a problem since its initial release in April, and while Apple’s beta testers report that 8.4 will fix the issue, no one is exactly sure when it will be released. Most places suggest it will be pushed out at the end of June, making almost two full months of issues for private pilots.

Several units that have been effected by this incompatibility issue include Bad Elf GPS device, Garmin GLO (which has since released a firmware update to fix the problem), Hilton Software’s WingX Pro7 (which has a workaround) and several other units which rely on Bluetooth GPS functionality. I’m neither a pilot nor an Apple fan, but if you happen to be either and need functional GPS, I might recommend either rolling back to 8.2 (if supported) or simply not updating to 8.3 for the time being.

Apple has remained pretty silent on the issue, although some posts on Apple’s forums suggest that the company has acknowledged that there have been some Bluetooth issues with the update and that GPS devices have been effected. For more information, check out Apple’s forums or check out Bad Elf’s blog for occasional updates.

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