Yesterday I was on a flight from Cairo to Berlin. Half way through I wanted to know how long until we land. The information screen was frozen, telling us we are still in Cairo and heading somewhere else.
What most people don’t know is that the GPS chip on your phone needs no network/internet to get your location. So I opened Google maps, waited a bit, and successfully found we are above Czech republic.
Finding your location using the phone GPS should always work without a connection/sim card as long as you turn off the airplane mode. What needs a connection is the map details (as long as you didn’t store it offline) to tell you exactly where you are.
Luckily my phone cached this part of the world since I use it a lot, which made me able to know we are in Czech republic. For example in the screenshot below, it only cached the eastern half of Germany, that’s why you see city names only on the eastern part.
If you want to know how satellite navigation on your phone works, you can watch this five minutes video. Next time you are stuck without a connection and want to know your location, just use your phone.