No one likes to be stranded in the middle of a place they are not well aware of trying to look for directions and asking help from the people around them. When a GPS is reliable, it can be of great help and we may never have to come across situations where we feel too alienated in the place that we are stuck. Quick directions can save your lots of time and you can get to a party without stopping for directions. Android phones have made GPS even better and they have increased reliability on this technology.
When you encounter a problem with your GPS, it can be anything from the Android GPS not working at all or the GPS showing a wrong location. Let us look for solutions to fix Android GPS issues to make sure that our GPS works as expected when we decide to go on a road trip.
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How to fix GPS issues on Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, LG G, Moto X, Nexus, and other Android devices
Solution 1: Toggle Your GPS
The easiest and quickest way to solve your problem is to toggle the GPS so that it gets a chance to refresh itself. You can turn the GPS On or Off from the notifications shade of your phone. Pull down the notifications shade and look for the GPS icon. Switch it Off and wait for at least 5 seconds. Switch On the GPS and allow it to check for the location again. Check if the problem you were facing has been fixed.
Solution 2: Toggle Airplane Mode
A lot of users have found that toggling the Airplane mode can be of help to solve GPS not working problems. The Airplane mode can be toggled easily by accessing the notifications area of your phone and then looking for the icon for the Airplane mode. Switch it On and wait for 15-20 seconds before switching it Off again. This will allow the network connections to start all over again and it is helpful in correcting simple GPS errors.
Solution 3: Remove the Phone Case
Your phone’s case can cause an obstruction for the GPS. It may end up showing the wrong location or it may not work at all if the case is causing a problem, so try removing the case of your phone and check if the GPS works fine. If your problem is fixed then you know that the case was the culprit. You may want to invest in a case that does not obstruct your phone’s GPS or better still, don’t use a case at all.
Solution 4: Power Saving Mode
If you tend to use Power Saving Mode very often, there is a chance that the phone has Power Saving Mode enabled which is the reason why the GPS is not working as expected. Power Saving Mode disables some important functions like Wi-Fi and GPS. It may be very helpful when you are trying to save battery but if you are trying to use your GPS, you must disable Power Saving mode.
To do this, pull down the notifications shade of your phone and tap on Power Saving Mode to switch it Off if it is On. On the other hand, you can also access the Settings menu of your phone and tap on Battery to check if Power Savings Mode is enabled or disabled.
Solution 5: Restart Your Android Device
Your can fix many problems with a restart. A restart helps the phone refresh its settings and it fixes some of the errors that we face with our phones. Restart your Android device and try using the GPS again. You may find that the GPS problem would have fixed itself with a simple restart. This is especially handy at a time when you may be looking for a location quickly and you do not have the time for too many troubleshooting steps.
While the restart may have fixed the Android GPS not working problem, sometimes these problems begin to reappear. If you face the same problem frequently, then you must check the other solutions for a permanent fix.
Solution 6: Tweak the GPS Settings
The GPS settings of your phone can make a lot of difference in the calibration of your location. Your GPS can be using some assistance from other technologies to help get a better location. However, this will happen only when you have chosen the right settings. To check the GPS settings of your phone follow these steps:
- Head into the settings menu of your device
- Scroll to check for Location and tap on it
- Under Location, tap on Mode
Here you will notice that there are three different settings available under Mode. Depending on the setting you choose, your GPS can provide you the most accurate location. You must choose the option “High Accuracy” because other two options will limit the manner in which your GPS checks the location.
You will find a Battery Saving mode which will use the Wi-Fi and the networks to identify the location and there is the GPS only mode where the device will rely solely on the GPS to check for the location. The best option is High Accuracy because it combines both the modes so that you get accurate location details when you use GPS.
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Solution 7: Update Google Maps
Google maps is your device’s key to accurate GPS locations. If you happen to have delayed your updates for a considerable period of time, there is a possibility that the phone’s maps are outdated which may be causing the errors in identifying locations accurately. Update your Android device’s Google maps to make sure GPS works properly.
- Tap on the Play Store
- Tap on the three dots that will show a drop down menu and choose My Apps and Games.
- Scroll through the list of your apps and look for Maps
- Tap Update
Once the update is complete, restart your device and allow the GPS to check the location once again. Check if your device’s GPS not working problem is fixed.
Solution 8: Clear Cache and Data for Maps to fix GPS issues on Android
Sometimes, the cache files and data files that build up on your device for Maps may have been corrupted. This can cause a problem for your GPS and it may begin behaving abnormally. To solve this problem, you must delete the cache and data for Maps and check if the problem is fixed. While clearing the cache will not make any difference because the cache files will be automatically created the next time you use the app, any data that is stored will be deleted. Your saved locations will be lost. So if there is anything important that you may want to take a note of, you must do it before you delete the data files for the Maps.
- Head into the Settings menu of your phone or tablet
- Scroll down to find Application Manager and tap on it
- Under the Downloaded Apps tab, look for Maps and tap on it
- Now tap on Clear Cache and confirm it on the pop up box.
- Once the cache files are cleared, tap on Clear Data.
Once you have cleared all the data and cache files, restart your phone and use GPS once again. Check if the problem you were facing has been solved.
Solution 9: Use GPS Status and Toolbox App
The GPS Status and Toolbox App is a helpful and user-friendly application which can give you a lot of information on your device’s GPS settings. It can also help in the installation of necessary updates for Assisted GPS Data also known as A-GPS data. The A-GPS data enhances the GPS performance of your device.
Download and install the GPS Status and Toolbox App from Google Play. It is a free app. Once the app is installed, check your GPS performance using the app and make necessary changes to make your GPS perform better. Check if the GPS of your device works better after using this app.
Solution 10: Safe mode
A lot of apps use the GPS data on your device. When these apps end up with corrupted files, it may begin to affect your device’s GPS too. To check if the apps may be causing a problem, use your phone in Safe Mode and check if it works fine.
- Press and hold the Power key of your device till the Power Options screen comes up on your device.
- Now press and hold the Power Off option on the screen till you notice a pop up which asks if you want to Reboot your device in Safe Mode
- Press Ok and the device will be rebooted in Safe mode.
You will notice the words Safe Mode written on the screen to confirm that you are using the device in Safe Mode. Check if your phone or tablet’s GPS works in Safe Mode. If it does, then the problem may lie in one of the third-party applications that you have installed on your device. You can go back to using your device in normal mode by restarting your phone as usual.
To solve this problem you can either reset your phone to factory settings which will remove all data including all apps that you may have installed to your phone, bringing the software of the phone back to its initial settings. The steps for factory reset are discussed below.
On the other hand, you have the option to uninstall the apps that you think may be causing the problem.
Solution 11: Update your Firmware
If you have been delaying a system update for a substantial period of time, then there are chances that it may affect your GPS. Every update brings fixes for bugs and possible problems. It is best to keep your device updated in a timely manner so that your phone has the latest version of Android.
To check for update, go to the Settings menu of your device and tap on About Device. Now tap on Check updates and if an update is available then install the update and check if your GPS problems get resolved after the device is updated.
Solution 12: Wipe Cache Partition
Your phone’s cache partition has files which can create a problem for the GPS if they get corrupted. It may even cause a problem in using other apps on your phone. If you are facing a GPS problem, then it is advisable to wipe the cache partition of your device and allow your device to build new cache files, this can ensure that the cache partition is not causing the problem.
- Power Off your phone
- Press the Volume Up, Power and Home button together till the phone vibrates before it powers on.
- Release the Power key and continue to hold the Volume Up and Home button till you see the Recover menu.
- Now use the Volume Down key to highlight Wipe cache partition from the menu and use the Power key to confirm your selection.
- Once the cache partition is deleted, use the volume key to highlight the restart option and confirm the restart with the Power key.
Once your device restarts, check the GPS again to see if the problem is fixed.
Solution 13: Reset to Factory Settings
Reset your device to Factory Settings to bring the software of your device to the same state as it was when you first took the device out of the box. Resetting your device to factory settings deletes all data including the apps you have downloaded. This is why it is important to create a backup of all important data. You can either store the data on the Cloud or you can transfer it to another device. Your phone also has the option to create a backup before you reset the device to Factory Settings.
- Go to the Settings menu of your device
- Look for Backup and Reset and tap on it
- You can check and uncheck the option to create a backup
- Towards the bottom of the screen you have the option to reset the phone to factory Settings, tap on it.
The process of resetting the phone will take some time because all the data will be wiped from your phone. Your phone will restart. After the restart check if your problem is fixed. If the device begins to work, then you can restore the backup and start using the phone as usual.
However, if the problem continues, then you must consider taking your phone to a professional or at the manufacturer’s outlet. You can get the phone checked for physical problems with the antenna of the phone. If your phone is under warranty, the manufacturer may also be able to replace it if the antenna is causing a problem.
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How can I find out if the GPS problem I am facing is hardware related or software related?
To find out where the problem lies, you can use an application like GPS Essentials which is available on the Play Store. Download and install this GPS Essentials to your phone. Now open the app and tap on Satellites. You will notice on your screen that your phone will try to connect to the satellites around Earth.
When your phone is unable to connect to any of the satellites then there is a chance that the device is either facing a problem because of an obstruction or the hardware of your device is not functioning properly.
On the other hand, if the screen shows that the satellites are connecting but your GPS is still not working as expected, then the problem lies in the software of your device. If the software is the concern, the solutions mentioned in this article will work for you. If the problem lies in the hardware, you must consider taking your phone to a technician who can check the device.
What should I do if my GPS is not telling the location accurately?
If you have already updated Google maps and you still find the GPS of your device showing you inaccurate locations, then there is a chance that the compass is not properly calibrated. If your device gets incorrect orientation information when you try to use a navigational app, then the compass of your Android device needs to be calibrated.
You will require an app to calibrate the compass of your device. GPS Essentials is a good app, available on the Play Store, which can help you calibrate the compass of your device. Download and install this app. Open it and tap on Compass.
To calibrate the compass, you must use your phone to draw the figure 8 in the air. Once you wave your phone in the air creating the pattern of the number 8, sideways, you will be able to calibrate the compass. Draw the pattern a couple of times so that the phone’s compass is properly calibrated.
Once the compass has been calibrated, check if the GPS problem is fixed.
How can I refresh my GPS data?
Sometimes, your device may end up showing inaccurate location or the GPS may not work because it is stuck on one of the GPS satellites even though that particular satellite is not within range. This causes the GPS of your device to show incorrect information. By refreshing the GPS data, you will be able to correct this problem.
To refresh the data, you can use an app like GPS Status and Toolbox. The app is available on Google Play Store from where you can download and install it for free. Open the app and tap anywhere on the screen. Tap on the spanner icon to bring up a drop down menu and then tap on Manage A-GPS state.
Now tap on Reset. Once it is done, go back to Manage A-GPS state and tap on Download. Once the download is complete, your GPS data has been refreshed. After the GPS data has been refreshed, check if your device’s GPS starts working properly once again.
These solutions should work on all Android devices. If you continue to face problems with your GPS then take it to a professional to check if the antenna is damaged. If there is damage on the antenna of your device then that may be causing the problem, and your phone will have to be replaced.
You may also read: How to fix Android phone or tablet that won’t turn on