GPS problems with your Android smartphone? That’s how you solve them

GPS problemsGPS is used to determine the location of your smartphone. Sometimes it takes a long time for your smartphone or tablet to recognize your location. You can solve many GPS problems with these steps.

Fix GPS issues on Android

GPS is indispensable on your smartphone. By connecting to satellites that orbit the earth, your phone always knows exactly where you are. This is not only useful if you want to navigate. Many apps use your location to be of quick service and to provide relevant information. If your GPS does not work, it is very annoying. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to identify or resolve problems.

First aid for GPS problems

  • Restart the phone. The first advice that you always get when something is wrong with your computer or smartphone. Sometimes a simple ‘reboot’ is surprisingly effective. Restarting for a moment so that GPS will reconnect can sometimes do wonders;
  • Turn location off and on: without completely restarting your smartphone, you can also choose to turn GPS off and on again. Go to settings> Location and uncheck ‘use location’. Wait a while before turning it back on and see if the problem is solved;
  • Determine location accuracy: If it takes a long time for your phone to find your location, you can see if the location accuracy can be set differently. Go to settings> location> Google location accuracy and check this. In devices with Android 8.1 (Oreo) or older, this is called ‘location mode’, and you can choose to set this to ‘accurate’. Your phone then not only uses GPS but also WiFi and signals from mobile phone masts to determine your precise location faster.

By (temporarily) disabling this type of battery optimization, a GPS problem with a specific app can sometimes be solved. You can find this battery optimization in the settings menu of your Android. On many Android phones it works as follows:
If the problems with GPS persist, it is also possible that the problem is in the battery settings of your smartphone. At first glance, the battery and GPS have little to do with each other. But location determination can 
cost a lot of energy. To save the battery, Android smartphones can prevent apps from continuously tracking the location. You do take longer with your battery, but it can also take more effort to find a GPS signal every time.

  • Go to ‘Settings> Apps and notifications> Advanced’;
  • Choose ‘Special app access> Optimize battery’;
  • Select ‘all apps’ from the drop-down menu. Find the app that is not working properly;
  • Click on the app in the list. In the new window, you get the ‘non-optimizing’ option. Please note that this allows the app to drain the battery of your phone faster.

gps problems on android

Fix GPS issues with an app

If it takes a long time for your location to be determined, it may be a fault of A-GPS. A-GPS, which stands for ‘assisted GPS’, works alongside satellites with other sources such as mobile phone masts or Wi-Fi signals. All sources from which a smartphone can retrieve location data are stored temporarily. Sometimes something goes wrong during this process, so it can be useful to reset the A-GPS data. You do that as follows.

  1. Download and install the free GPS Status & Toolbox app ;
  2. The menu bar is initially hidden. Swipe the screen to display it and press the burger menu at the top left;
  3. In the menu that appears, press ‘A-GPS status management’;
  4. Press ‘reset’ in the pop-up screen. The A-GPS data is deleted and immediately downloaded again.

And that’s it. If all goes well, your Android device will now recognize your location faster.

Fix GPS issues

The GPS Status & Toolbox app has even more useful functions that can help you identify GPS issues. This way you can also see if the sensors in your phone work. To do this, go back to the menu and press ‘Sensor check’. The app checks the motion and location sensors in your phone to see if they work.

If they function properly, they get a green check mark. If not, there is a red cross. Some sensors initially receive a red cross. So the app can only see if the pedometer works after you have taken a few steps.

Still no GPS?

Good to know: problems with GPS can have many causes that cannot always be remedied with an app or by switching your phone on and off. Many factors play a role. For example, buildings can disrupt your GPS signal, but a signal can also be less on a very old or cheap phone.

In the first case, it helps to find an open space outside. In the second case, there is, unfortunately, little else to do than to look for a new smartphone with good GPS.

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