Why wont the iPod Touch apps work!
July 28, 2008 2:27 PM   Subscribe

I gave Mr. Arnicae an iPod Touch for his bday and none of the cool apps that use GPS or the internets seem to function. Help!

So I got Mr. Arnicae an iPod Touch this week which he LOVES and paid the extra $10 (highway robbery) to upgrade the software to 2.0. He is using it to play games, calculate tips, etc, etc, etc, but none of the apps that use the internet or GPS seem to function consistantly.

The GPS has not worked once, the internet-based apps only work intermittently while connected to wifi.

The little pop-up has shown up when there was an open internet connection- this does not seem to affect whether the app (ex: ebay, twitter, NY Times) actually works. Twitter has worked once, nothing else has worked.

The GPS-based apps (ex: Where and the restaurant suggester thinger whose name I am forgetting at the moment) never work. They can never find my location.

Any suggestions for troubleshooting would be appreciated! The google has failed me so far.

posted by arnicae to Technology (11 answers total)
Does the iPod Touch have GPS? I had thought that that was a feature that was on the iPhone 3G only.
posted by tjenks at 2:35 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go into the WiFi settings and look at the received power of your signal. I bought one of these for Mrs. Mice and unless she's sitting under the WiFi router, the radio connection is dodgy. You might also want to change some of the radio settings (channel, signal power) on your router to avoid interference.

I hear also that the 3G iPhone has some radio connectivity problems so it seems that this is a weakness in Apple products.

My understanding is that the GPS antenna/receiver design is also marginal and only works outdoors and if you're standing still.
posted by three blind mice at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2008

Here is an article comparing the iPod Touch to the iPhone.

iPod touch does not have maps or GPS, and internet only works through wifi - no EDGE or 3G.
posted by idiotfactory at 2:39 PM on July 28, 2008

iPod touch has some bullshit triangulation technology that uses your wifi signal to approximate your location. Weird thing is, it usually works quite accurately. I've used it a few times in the last couple of months, in different states. But it does not actually communicate with a satellite.

arnicae, you need to be continuously connected to a wi-fi network for any of those apps to work. It's not clear from your question whether you understand that or not. Obviously you aren't going to be able to load Twitter or NY Times or Google Maps (the pseudo-GPS app) if you don't have a live internet connection.

So are you sure you have a wireless connection -- do random web pages open? -- when you are trying these applications?
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:41 PM on July 28, 2008

My understanding is that the GPS antenna/receiver design is also marginal

The iPod Touch does not have a GPS unit. It estimates location based on info it gets from the WiFi.

Make sure the WiFi you are using works properly with another device, like a laptop. You may be getting a weak signal, as stated above. I don't have any problem using mine in my apartment or my favorite coffee place. But there have been public WiFi connections that are not strong enough for it to work properly.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:47 PM on July 28, 2008

The location-based services will only work when connected to a Wi-Fi connection; the iPod Touch doesn't have GPS, but the functionality can be faked via an IP geolocation/SSID-based mechanism, but it won't work all the time, especially if you don't live in a major urban area.

Where are the wireless access points you're trying to use? Many times, "public" access points that appear to be open for use are actually owned by services that allow you to connect, but redirect all your traffic to a login page that wants you to pay for the connection before allowing you to access the internet. You can usually check this by trying to load a web page in Safari once you've connected to the wireless network. If you get the page you're trying to load and not a login redirect, software that uses the internet should also work.
posted by strangecargo at 2:49 PM on July 28, 2008

iPod touch does not have maps or GPS

It does have Maps. But it only works via WiFi.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:49 PM on July 28, 2008

To clear it up, the iPod Touch doesn't have GPS, cellular data, mic, camera or external speaker.

Also, I dont think you have to pay the $10 if the 2.0 software had already come out (a few week ago). Your unit was probably shipped before then. I'd call Apple and try to get a refund.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2008

Alright, I feel like an idiot in terms of the GPS. But in terms of the 2.0 software, my understanding is that for the Touch, Apple is going to have it optional for the time being- meaning that any products purchased in the future will have to pay the extra $10 to upgrade to it. But Ièll call my apple store.
posted by arnicae at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2008

The point above about what WiFi point you are connected to is key -- do you have your own WiFi access point? If it is a conventional broadband connection (DSL, Cable) then the geolocation features should work pretty well, down to a radius of few blocks. This isn't based on triangulation, since the machine can only be connected to one base station at a time, but instead is a database of known IP numbers for known internet service providers, which are often allocated geographically. (This is, incidentally, the same technology that serves you ultra-local ads based on your location when browsing: think "Find a date tonight in Oakland!") However if you are getting a signal from some other unknown access point, the system may not work as well.

If you go to Network Settings you can tell the Touch to 'forget' certain networks that you may have inadvertently joined, so that you only connect to your own stable, reliable network while at home.
posted by squid patrol at 6:55 PM on July 28, 2008

Also, a lot of wireless networks require you to log in via some sort of webpage before you can access anything. I've had to make my iPhone forget the wireless where I work because while it can link up to the wireless just fine, I have to authenticate via a webpage to actually do anything, which makes checking my fetch email go from two clicks to twenty million.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:12 AM on July 29, 2008

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