Why does my Macbook think it is in Alaska?
December 2, 2013 6:55 AM   Subscribe

I just noticed that the clock on my Macbook Pro (running 10.9) is wrong, and when I went into Settings to see what is going on, I realized in the automatic time zone setting that my Macbook thinks it is in Alaska. Also, when I look up my computer in Find My iPhone, it too shows it being in Alaska. I am in Virginia. I have never been to Alaska. What is going on?
posted by 4ster to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
On your Macbook Pro, Go to Preferences --> Date and Time --> Time Zone and select Eastern Standard Time.

Then sync your iPhone.

Your location should be fixed.
posted by dfriedman at 7:10 AM on December 2, 2013

I don't have an iPhone. I do have an LTE iPad 3, but iCloud is showing that in the proper location.
posted by 4ster at 7:12 AM on December 2, 2013

Maybe it's something to do with your internet service provider? The library where I used to work always showed up on geo-aware websites as being in Providence, RI when in fact it was in western Massachusetts. Less dramatic than Virginia-Alaska, admittedly.

Try turning off the LTE and GPS on your iPad and see if it shows up as being in Alaska when it's connected to your wifi.
posted by mskyle at 7:27 AM on December 2, 2013

I don't mean to threadsit, but I just tried running the iPad on WIFI and it still shows being in Virginia.
posted by 4ster at 7:36 AM on December 2, 2013

Your iPad has GPS, whereas your MacBook Pro doesn't, and so approximates its location based on wireless networks nearby. I had a similar thing happen to me several years ago when I took a wireless router with me to university and my iPod touch used to think it was in the location the router used to be in (presumably, if my Mac had had that feature at the time it would have thought the same). Is it possible the wireless router you're using is second hand and could once have been in Alaska?
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 7:38 AM on December 2, 2013

Sadly, no. We bought it new a couple of years ago, and this is the first time this has happened. Also, I just tethered the Macbook to my Verizon phone using the mobile hotspot feature, and iCloud still thinks the Macbook is in Fairbanks.
posted by 4ster at 7:48 AM on December 2, 2013

IPLocation.net shows the geolocation data for IP addresses from a few different services - do any of them list Alaska for you? That's what I'd guess would be the issue.

As to why the IP location service is wrong ... well, they're often wrong. There's some information on that page about how they work, but the main thing to take away is that there's a lot of guesswork involved. There's no legal requirement to make it publicly known where an IP address is based, and in some cases that's not even possible.
posted by spielzebub at 8:11 AM on December 2, 2013

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone, but I'm still stuck in Alaska.
posted by 4ster at 6:59 AM on December 3, 2013

I took the Macbook home, and now the location is correct. Weird.

Thanks, everyone, for your help.
posted by 4ster at 12:01 PM on December 3, 2013

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