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Frozen1968 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I noticed on both our iPads in settings>location services>system services that Cell Network Search is always running(has a purple triangle next to it.)  This seems to be new with ios 5.  I disabled this along with Setting Time Zone beacause they were preventing other apps from finding my current location through location services.  Does anyone know what Cell Network Search actually does?  I thought it might have something to do with 3G but my 3G is working fine with it disabled.  It would be nice to know what this is!  Thanks.


iPad 2, iOS 5
  • Anthony J Howe Level 4 Level 4 (1,070 points)

    it trys to search your location whichever App is searching and it looks at

    cellular, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System networks to determine your approximate location.

    see this article.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4995

     

    also some other information on the iOS 5 user guide on page 120.

    http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/ipad_user_guide.pdf

  • Frozen1968 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for answering my post Anthony.  Much appreciated.  However, your answer is a defintion of Location Services.  Location Services uses cellular, Wi-Fi and GPS to determine location.  System Services (settings>location services>system services) are services that use Location Services to achieve whatever task it is designed to do.  For example, Setting Time Zone is a system service that uses Loacation Services to determine what time zone you are in.  The link you sent states (it won't let me paste so I have to para phrase) that you can turn on and off apps and SYSTEM SERVICES that use locations services data!  So Cell Network Search is a system service that uses location service data.  Again, my question is what exactly is Cell Network Search and what does it do?  I have not been able to find this answer in either Apple's literature or forums.  Thanks again.

  • srghalahad Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I too have been searching for this information to no avail.  I have a genius bar apointment tomorrow, and I am going to ask them...

  • Frozen1968 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks srghalahad.  If you get an answer, please post it so we can finally put this mystery to rest.  Good luck!

  • ram130 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Did you guys ever found a answer for this? I realised since I disabled it my signal takes a longer time to lock on when I come out of a no signal area.

  • Frozen1968 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Have not really found a definitive answer yet.  I was reading some threads and stumbled on a few possible answers.  In one thread, someone stated that cell network search is used by the camera (in addition to wifi and gps) to determine your location for geo tagging Picts.

     

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1267443

     

    This does not ring true to me as location services has a camera option.

     

    The other post I read (sorry I can't find the link for it) states that it keeps near by cell towers in memory so connection to the network will be quicker once in range.  This would support what ram130 posted!  So if this was the case, cell network search is a system service that uses part of lacation services (cellular) to keep a list of cell towers for quicker connection.  Maybe.....it would be really nice if Apple would document what these system services do!  Most are self explanatory but cell network search is not.  Thx for your post ram130.

  • ram130 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Sure no problem. I can say for a fact the camera usage is not true because I've only notice cell network search using location services once my phone tries to regain signal. In fact you can test it by enabling the status bar icon for system services and toggling airplane mode.

     

    Anyway I think your right. I still need to do more testing to be sure though.

  • Frozen1968 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thx ram130.  Interesting post.  Looks like we are getting closer to answering this question.  I still wish Apple would just publish what these system services do...especially cell network search!

  • jussyj Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi there i too have stumbled across this setting never noticed it before i am in the uk with vodafone and checked my mates 4s who is with orange and he dosent have the setting there???we both running on 5.1 . Then i checked another friends whos on orange and he had it ?

  • slimypsartagus Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I think the cell network search is looking for the closest cell towers based on your location. I was traveling last week and my battery was dieing really fast, about 10% an hour with hardly any use. So i turned off cell network search and all 3g data and the problem went away. Now that im back home, i turned them both back on, but my battery seems to be dieng faster than when i left. I'm just wondering how necessary the cell network search is... I think i will turn it off for a while and see if my battery life improves. I live in a big city, so always finding the closest tower does not seem necessary to me. It might be a good thing for when you are driving around in rural areas though..

  • stellamaris5 Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)

    I'm on Vodafone and i noticed it only after the 5.0.1 update (it may have been there before) AND a hard reset. Only after a reset did it appear - before it was not there...odd.

  • Frozen1968 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thx for your post slimpsartagus.  What you are saying may fit in with our working theory.  Because you were in a rural area that you don't normally go, perhaps Cell Network Search had to work harder to collect a list of nearby cell towers.  Again, just a working theory as we have nothing official from Apple(at least not that I have seen.)  I will say that many of the threads concerning Cell Network Search has to do with battery drainage.  I enabled the locations services icon (at the bottom of the system services page) and noticed that Cell Network Search was always running.  I eventually turned it off and did notice some improvement on my battery.  Although that is helpful, it still does not explain what Cell Network Search actually does.  When I disable something, I like to know what it is exactly.  Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving.

  • BigMahk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Frozen,

     

    I noticed a similar drain this past weekend and was showing it to a co-worker today.  I found for me that my Location Services icon was on though no application was running. I assumed it was for System Services and proceeded to turn them off one by one until I found the two that were in use.  First, Cell Network Search was on indefinitely.  I have a 3G iPad 2 but have not activated the 3g service.  I found that either turning this Location Service off, or turning on the Cellular Data on would help it "find" whatever it was looking for.  Since I have no need to have Cellular Data enabled, I chose to turn off this location service.

     

    The Setting Time Zone I left on and set the time zone manually under General / Date & Time.  Since I do not travel that often outside of my time zone I figured setting it manually would be fine. I think for the frequent traveller, this would be annoying.

     

    It is frustrating to have something like this suddenly start draining my battery.  Another nuisance I found with this IOS update is my screen does not automatically lock as it should. I do not have a smart case (by choice) and I constantly find it on as though something is keeping that function from engaging much like a process stops the screensaver from starting on your PC.  I believe these issues are related.  Whatever is searching for an updated location is also keeping the system from locking as it believes the pad is in use.

     

    I realize this is not answer to your question "What is Cell Network Search", it's at least an attempt to address choices for disabling these services.

     

    Thanks for your post. I found this thread very helpful.

  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,860 points)

    Frozen1968 wrote:

     

    I noticed on both our iPads in settings>location services>system services that Cell Network Search is always running(has a purple triangle next to it.)  This seems to be new with ios 5.  I disabled this along with Setting Time Zone beacause they were preventing other apps from finding my current location through location services.  Does anyone know what Cell Network Search actually does?  I thought it might have something to do with 3G but my 3G is working fine with it disabled.  It would be nice to know what this is!  Thanks.

    Cell Network Search is a location based service that sends your location information, and the tower ids of the network towers within range of (and thus detected by) your phone.  It is used by Apple marketing (and whomever they choose to sell/share the database with) to determine patterns of cell useage, tower congestion and so on.

     

    Those features in System Services are all about sending your location based information TO Apple, not about enabling features or services on your iPhone.  This is Apple's way of allowing you to opt out of the collection of location based data that previously was done surriptiously without overtly letting you know or have any way to stop it.

     

    You can disable every single feature in that section and your iPhone or iPad will continue to function exactly the same way it always has.

     

    The only one that has anything to do with your use is the time zone feature, but you'd only actually need that one on IF you were outside of range of any cellular towers and wanted your time zone set by your GPS location.  If you turn it off, but leave the time&date setting on "automatic" then your time zone will be determined by the time signal received from the wireless towers your device connects to.

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