It makes me feel a little old to admit that I used to carry a physical map in my car. I don’t today, but it makes me realize just how much I rely on my GPS when I am in an area that I’m not familiar with. Without Google Maps, I’m literally not sure where I’d be. And that navigation wouldn’t be possible without the GPS driving it.
It’s incredibly frustrating when your GPS is not working on Android, and there are even a lot of accounts from users where the problem is so frequent that it seems basically permanent.
This can impact not only Google Maps, but also apps like Google Fit, Runkeeper, Strava, and Waze. Whereas a working GPS should be able to determine a location (using Assisted-GPS technology) in about 30 seconds, failures can change the time required to as high as 12 minutes, or not at all.
Fortunately, we have some recommendations for how to fix Android GPS issues.
Method 1: Switch on High Accuracy Mode
Beware the battery drain. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the GPS trade-off. Just don’t leave your charger at home. The reason for this is that it tells your phone to throw every resource available into pinpointing your location; including Wi-Fi, cellular networks, Bluetooth, and of course, GPS.
1. Go to Settings
2. Tap Location
The name might also be Security & Location. It can also be located in your Quick Settings.
3. Tap Location Again (on some devices)
Depending on the device, you may also have to select Location under Privacy.
4. Choose Mode
There will be three settings beneath Mode. Tap the option titled High Accuracy.
Method 2: Toggle Settings/Features/Phone
If you want simple and fast, try turning a few features off and back on or vice versa. It’s also a way to check the obvious. You wouldn’t want to go so far as to factory reset if the problem can be solved by simply restarting your device. So let’s just try flipping some switches before you do any real work.
1. Toggle Airplane Mode
Go to your Quick Settings and toggle the airplane icon.
2. Toggle GPS
This is also available through Quick Settings or through Settings. It is also known as Location.
3. Reboot Your Device
There’s nothing like a restart to solve many issue. Reboot and try using GPS again.
Method 3: Attain App Assistance from GPS Essentials
The GPS Essentials app can help narrow the problem down to either hardware or software. This is extremely important, as you can spend a lot of time trying software solutions, but if it’s hardware they will be futile.
GPS Essentials isn’t an app that you will want to delete even after you fix your GPS.
You can also use the app to create a dashboard with up to 45 widgets of your choice, including: altitude, battery, speed, bearing, accuracy, climb, declination, ETA, distance, latitude and longitude, minimum and maximum speed, actual speed, sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, moon phase, target, time, and more.
1. Install GPS Essentials
Download GPS Essentials
2. Open App Menu
If the program doesn’t launch automatically, open it manually. Then go to the main menu.
3. Tap Satellites
This part is pretty cool. You get to watch a simulation of your device connecting to satellites around the world.
4. If No Satellites Appear:
See if anything could be blocking or interfering with the signal, such as your phone case or other external (especially metallic) objects. It could also be your hardware, and you might have to take your Android to a technician.
5. If the Satellites are Connecting:
If your GPS still isn’t working, the culprit is likely your software. Keep trying the following solutions.
Method 4: Check Power Saving Mode
Also commonly known as Battery Saver, this app’s only objective is to save on battery. Although this is a worthy cause, it can decrease or totally eliminate GPS functionality. You’ll want to turn off Power Saving settings, including Battery Management or any third-party apps you’ve installed. The method to accomplish this does vary by device and/or app, but we’ll give some pointers.
1. Go to Settings
Ultimately, you are trying to reach Battery or Energy settings.
2. Select Battery
It could also be under Battery & Power Saving.
3. Choose Power Saving Mode
This step can also be represented by other names, such as Battery Optimization, Battery Saver, or Battery Usage.
4. Disable Power Saver
You can specify particular apps for which you want to turn power saving off if you have an option like App Power Saving, or use a more comprehensive approach.
Method 5: Refresh GPS Data with GPS Status & Toolbox
Sometimes even your assisted (A-GPS) needs a little bit of extra help, as it can become corrupt or stuck.
One app that works to both speed up and improve the accuracy of your GPS is GPS Status & Toolbox by MobiWIA. It’s a popular app with an average rating of 4.5/5 out of almost 150,000 reviews in Google Play. GPS Status & Toolbox updates and clears a GPS much more frequently that what happens by default, among many other features.
1. Install GPS Status & Toolbox
Download GPS Status & Toolbox
2. Swipe App Display
Swipe the display to the right two times.
3. Choose Menu
In the upper left-hand corner, next to Locations, tap the three bar icon.
4. Tap Manage A-GPS State
5. Touch Reset/Download
Reset clears the data and Download refreshes A-GPS data from the Internet.
Method 7: Employ an External Receiver
If the internal GPS that came with your device doesn’t seem to be working, there are other options out there. We’re not talking about spending hundreds of dollars on Garmin or Tomtom either. For a fraction of that price you can buy a micro USB GPS receiver. External Bluetooth GPS receivers are more convenient, but do tend to be more expensive. We’ll also include an app or two to assist.
1. Pair Devices
Turn on your receiver and place it close to your device. Then go to your Android’s Bluetooth settings and wait for the receiver’s name to appear.
2. Use Receiver App or Bluetooth GPS App
The app is pretty simple—you just hit the big Lock GPS button.
Download Bluetooth GPS
Alternatively, there’s also this app:
Download: USB GPS
And one more because it’s a good one:
Download You are Here GPS
3. Enable Mock GPS Provider
You will need to enable Developer Options. To do so, go to Settings > About Device and tap your Build Number about seven times. Now when you go back to Settings you will see Developer Options (make sure it is toggled on), and below that, the option to Enable Mock GPS. If you have already enabled Developer Options, you can just simply check the box for enabling mock GPS within the app.
It’s also a good idea to Auto-Enable Bluetooth. You may be asked to provide additional info in your receiver’s app settings.
4. Connect from App
Now you should see live GPS data on your app’s screen.
5. Try Out Your Apps
If all is well, you should be able to use any location-aware apps successfully.
Method 8: Flash New ROM
If, much to your dismay, you have found that your GPS fails to function after the installation of a custom ROM, you may just need a different custom ROM. This is a common issue for many CyanogenMod ROM builds. You will also find the problem resolved if you go back to your stock ROM, but you may not want to. One other option is to flash a radio.
1. Backup Your Data
Download Titanium Backup
2. Locate Working ROM
It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes the nightlies work better than the stable versions of CyanogenMod, at least when it comes to the GPS.
3. Open Maps or Other Location-Aware App
4. Reboot into Recovery
You’ll want a custom recovery mode like ClockWorkMod or TWRP if you are flashing a custom ROM.
5. Flash New ROM
Or restore your backup.
6. Boot into New OS
Are You Navigating Now?
For the most part, the tricks above should suffice to fix your GPS software problems.
It also doesn’t hurt to update or clear your cache and data for both Google Maps and your Android system. If comes down to it, you could also do a factory reset, but keep in mind that it will set your device back to factory default settings. If it’s the hardware with the problem, you can try adjusting the cover to your phone in case it isn’t seated properly, but you might be stuck sending the device in to be fixed.
Have you used other tactics to fix your GPS? Do you still need help? Let us know in the comments!