Android GPS

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use

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

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Settings Icon

Scroll down.

2. Tap Location

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Location Toggle in Quick Settings

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

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Location Settings

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

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Airplane Mode Notification

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Location Toggle

3. Reboot Your Device

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Reboot Menu

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
GPS Essentials Home Screen

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

Settings Battery
Where to Find Battery Settings

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Battery Saver Settings

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

Open the app. Accept the privacy policy. Allow the app to access your location.

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
GPS Status & Toolbox Locations Menu

4. Tap Manage A-GPS State

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
GPS Status & Toolbox Menu

5. Touch Reset/Download

Reset clears the data and Download refreshes A-GPS data from the Internet.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Reset and Download Options

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android Bluetooth GPS App

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

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
You Are Here GPS App

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Developer Options Toggle

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.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Connect from Bluetooth GPS

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

If you’re rooted, you can take advantage of Titanium Backup or Nandroid.

Download Titanium Backup

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android 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

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Google Maps

4. Reboot into Recovery

You’ll want a custom recovery mode like ClockWorkMod or TWRP if you are flashing a custom ROM.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
TWRP Menu

5. Flash New ROM

Or restore your backup.

How to Fix Android GPS Issues: 8 Methods for You to Use | Joy of Android
Flashing Recovery

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!

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4 Comments

  1. Google blocks your gps, if you dont accept they are data harvesting. The trick here is to agree on data harvest, locate on map and turn it off again to only the gps.

    1. Thank you! I spent several hours trying to figure out why my gps wasn’t working. Thanks to your post I found out that the metal insert I put in my case to keep a magnet holder from messing up my phone was blocking my gps. Great info!

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