Q&A: Tracking location and mobile data costs

Q We are off to Nepal shortly, and I want to tag occasional iPhone photos to keep track of where we go, as my standalone camera does not support geotagging. To support that, will I have to switch the iPhone’s Airplane Mode off, and incur massive data roaming costs?

A The iPhone’s location services employ assisted GPS (aGPS), which is not dependent on a mobile connection, but uses one when available to get better fixes more quickly. Whatever you choose to do, you should test it out in the UK before departure, so that you are comfortable with the best solution.

The best option may be to shoot your untagged photos, then turn data access on whilst you sync those images to the iPhone and tag them. Once that is completed using an absolute minimum of data access, you should return to Airplane Mode to keep charges low.

However you should find that you can get useful geotags with data turned off throughout, or that one of the iPhone apps that are designed to work without a mobile connection does an even better job. Try searching the iTunes App Store using ‘geotagging’.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 3, 2011.