Troubleshooting GPS Issues

What is GPS?

GPS is a system to estimate location on Earth by using signals from a set of orbiting satellites.

Tips: Achieving good initial GPS lock

To achieve a fast start and a high-accuracy position estimates, you should provide:

  • Clear view of a large portion of the sky
  • A time to connect to several satellites

Alfa and Omega of a correct GPS lock is clear view of the sky combined with a bit of your patience. Any obstruction between the phone and the sky can negatively affect the signal strength. A big tree is an obvious obstacle, but even a jersey or a backpack can block low-strength signals.

To decrease the signal locking time, keep your device in one place and make sure the device’s data communications are enabled. This allows the phone’s GPS to get a help approximating the location. Also, in some situations even with a perfectly clear sky it can take few minutes before the signal-lock is established. The majority of Android phones produced in a last couple of years include fairly solid GPS sensors however not all GPS sensors are created equal.

Variable performance

The GPS system consists of a chip in your device as well as satellites above the Earth. So even if your device is in the same place with the same settings as before, it may behave differently from time to time. Typically, the device needs to receive signals from about 5 satellites to get an accurate estimate of its position. With the changing position of the satellites, changing weather patterns, and the changing nature of the Earth’s outer atmosphere, there are enough parts of the GPS system outside of your direct control and observation that it is difficult to make conclusions about what specifically is causing inconsistent performance. We recommend you try repeatedly before making a judgement about the best ways to work with your device’s GPS in your setting.

Tips: Improving phone GPS performance

  • Turn phone off/on
  • Turn satellites off/on
  • Perform an “AGPS reset”: Install the App GPS Status & Toolbox, then in that app, go to Menu > Tools > Manage A-GPS State > Reset, and then Menu > Tools > Manage A-GPS State > Download.

Steps to take when investigating GPS Issues 

Be Patient!

Try using the MyCarTracks app to record for 10 minutes, letting it search for signals with a wide open view of the sky, and keeping it completely static. If this does not produce useful location estimates, here are the steps we recommend to take next:

Determine if GPS works in other apps

If you don’t mind getting your hands little dirty, try running one of the free apps that present detailed GPS operating information. “GPS Status” is a free app that can reset your GPS and download fresh A-GPS data. The link to download the app is here. You should see it eventually reporting 5 or more satellites acquired, and an overall accuracy range of less than 30 meters if everything is working properly.

Check for resource management apps

Some devices may have apps installed that disable GPS services or terminate backgrounded apps in an attempt to reduce battery usage and improve system performance. Examples of apps in this category include “Advanced Task Killer” and “Juice Defender.” Please disable or adjust the settings of these apps to allow MyCarTracks to receive GPS information during long periods of background operation.

Managing Android Device Power Settings
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to adjust your power management settings in order to resolve this issue for the most commonly reported devices:

Access your phone settings -> battery -> power saving mode -> battery optimization -> select app -> don’t optimize -> save.

Access Battery settings -> App Power Saving -> Details -> MyCarTracks -> Disabled

Turn Energy Settings to Normal and add MyCarTracks to “Protected Apps”

Some Android devices will include different options in order to prolong battery life, so please make sure that the app is not affected. Follow the manufactures procedures in order to allow apps to access your GPS and run in the background.

What to do when GPS just doesn’t work

Contact our support team with a description of the device (make, model), Android OS version, and version of MyCarTracks (search in Menu / Settings / About). You can also use Feedback from within the MyCarTracks app’s menu, it will include all of this information in the message automatically.


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