Android Central

Some Galaxy Nexus users who've recently updated their devices to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean have been experiencing issues with the phone's GPS capabilities. Specifically, some Gnex owners are unable to get a GPS fix, even with several satellites in view. It's a pretty nasty bug that, at worst, can leave you unable to track your location.

To check if you're affected, open up an app that constantly tracks where you are, like Google Maps, (and wait a while -- GPS takes time to kick in) then check the notification shade for a GPS message. If the text says "Searching for GPS..." and you're not seeing a flashing icon, that means you're not getting a GPS lock. To confirm that you're affected by the bug, you can download the GPS Test app and see if you have satellites within view.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix for anyone experiencing problems -- simply go to Settings > Location services, uncheck and re-check "Google's location service," and you should be good to go. We've confirmed that this remedies the situation on our own phones, and we've heard that it's worked for others, too. It looks like this is just a weird server-side glitch, and clearing and re-enabling Google location services resets things on the phone's side.

If you've been experiencing GPS issues on the Galaxy Nexus, let us know how you're getting on down in the comments.

 

Reader comments

PSA: Galaxy Nexus GPS problems on Jelly Bean? There's an easy fix

60 Comments

GPS Issues on a Samsung designed phone?!?! Your kidding?!?! No actually GPS issues and Samsung seem about as common as Apple and lawsuits, at least in my opinion.

Kind-of have to agree. My HTC Evo would lock in 1/4th the time. I was climbing in Colorado with a friend that had a Verizon iPhone and, even though I had full view of the sky, his phone would almost immediately lock whereas mine never would. ...and that was before the update to 4.1.1.

This actually has nothing to do with the Nexus being a Samsung phone... GPS has been excellent on the GNex, this is a server-side issue on Google's end.

This has been bugging me for the last couple of days now. Glad to hear it's not just me. Got lost in Trenton, NJ this weekend thanks to this (not great). Thanks for the fix.

Mine had been useless all day on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday morning. I played around with GPS Status and a couple of other apps, didn't help. Last night at about 11pm I tried it again and GPS lock was instant. No idea what happened, but I didn't do this "fix" and I hadn't done anything since early afternoon, when it wasn't working. Any chance it was some server somewhere that just came back on line?

I discovered this on Saturday evening during my run, when Runkeeper (nor Maps) could pick up a GPS signal. Apparently it was due to a major Solar Flare. It was back online Sunday without even having to do anything. So..no. This isn't a "Samsung/Vibrant GPS issue." Especially since it's been working perfectly since November. That Vibrant was such a P.I.T.A device.

NO I don't think it was anything to do with a flare because when my GNex wouldn't work Friday night when I landed in New Orleans I just used my wife's iPhone (which she took some small delight in) and it had no issues (so if it was a solar flare it should have affected any GPS device at some level). This was a Google issue :)

Thanks for posting. I experienced this on a geocaching run yesterday. I just tried it again - no GPS lock. Then I unchecked and rechecked the three options under the GPS menu and got a lock almost immediately.

Sadly, I just tried it on my VZ Nexus and I'm still showing a searching for GPS message in the notifications. Tried unchecking and checking Google location services a few times and still no luck.

Edit: Just tried unchecking and rechecking all 3 options under the GPS settings, still getting a "searching for gps" error....

Likewise, khelek. I am glad to know I'm not the only one with issues. Over the weekend I found myself lost after the gps stopped, along with my data connection. Took about 20 minutes to come back.

Could have been that solar flare on Saturday. I was having all kinds of problems with my data connection then. It showed a good signal, but it kept losing Google services (turning from blue to grey) and couldn't get enough data to transfer to check a Google Voice message.

Are you on Jelly Bean 4.1.1 with Verizon? I didn't think they updated yet? If your on ICS then this fix won't work for you as it is for Jelly Bean.

Just for the record, Sean, I am with Verizon and I am on Jelly Bean.

GPS seems happy at the moment, but I now have flashes of being forced to read standard maps back before there was gps. *shivers*

Wow. Thanks for this! I was out in the mountains on vacation this past weekend and couldn't get a GPS lock. Thought it might be hardware related and was about to call for a warranty replacement. Thanks again.

Actually, this was just a temporary fix according to the 14-page XDA thread (at the time), as after you rebooted your device it would be messed up again. But, I'm hearing Google's actually truly fixed it now so we don't need to do anything. I better go test it out.

Without sending another update, how could Google have fixed it?

No part of GPS depends on Google's servers. (regardless of what Alex says in the write up).

This is simply another example of Android's tendency to get an internal setting out of sync with the displayed switch shown on the screen. We've seen this over and over again in many versions on many different phones.

In each case unsettling and resetting usually cleans things up.

>No part of GPS depends on Google's servers. (regardless of what Alex says in the write up).

This is incorrect. Phones like the Galaxy Nexus use a Google-provided A-GPS server to speed up satellite acquisition.

Exactly Andrew777. Why would we always want to use Google location services anyway, when I have GPS? Yes, I know why many of you do, but my point is. If that was the issue? Then just SIMPLY use GPS Only, and you should be fine, and of course it is for me (Open view). I never "Use wireless networks" either for "Added location accuracy". To find out if your GPS is working, just simply use GPS only. Not Google, and not the "Networks", at least from time to time. Otherwise I call this "Cheating". If you are in the deep sticks, it will only be the GPS that finds you your way back out.

Now I do too have a very minor AGPS caching issue from time to time. Maybe 3 times a year? But "GPS Test" quickly clears that up for me. "GPS Test" by Chartcross Limited > http://bit.ly/zmtvFM will quickly clear & update your "AGPS" in 2 quick & easy steps, if you need it.

go to /system/etc, do you see the file "AGPS_CA.pem"?
i assume you dont, cus i dont have it on my nexus either.
i also have att note, after i copy this file "AGPS_CA.pem" to nexus, it locked on gps in less than 30 seconds after reboot or after a power on/off!
let me know if you need this file.

This just reminds me of the answering machine from The IT Crowd "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

I think the agreement to allow Google to use your GPS for location services had to be agreed to; you probably had to do this when the service was re-enabled.

Never had any issues with GPS on my HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus, then again I've always had that option checked in the location settings.

Maybe just a GSM Galaxy Nexus issue? Definitely not hardware related it seems. My GPS is working pretty darn good with my VZW GNex, and I just put a 4.1.1 ROM on her last week. GPS tracking is working like a champ. Hopefully its a small bug that should be hammered out within the next couple of days or so. Viva La Nexus!!!!

its always good to knw that i m not the only one! tried that fix yesterday not knowing that it was the fix, but it started working.

Yes... have/had this EXACT problem on my GNEX running JB 4.1.1 ... twice on runs I lost or could not acquire GPS.

Finally tried your recommendation and GPS came right back. Using My Tracks for running/cycing now works great!

Never had an issue until JB - it seems this is mostly related to LATITUDE. If you're signed on to Latitude, the GPS signal doesn't lock, and you get your location updated once a minute or so.

Once you log out of Latitude, your location locks instantly (yes the GPS in the Gnex is sick) and doesn't get a cut connection.

True story.

Tried everything. Still not working! Please help!!!

UPDATE! Now working I had to clear defaults and force stop and then re started the phone. working now.

The problem that I had running the JB roms on my Sprint Galaxy Nexus is with the lack of street names during navigation. It did take to long for the gps to lock but I could live with that if I got street names.

I've had no problems with the GPS in my Verizon GNex so far. I'm running the Vicious Jelly Bean ROM. BTW, the GPS icon does not blink, it just locks in once it gets the signals.

Three weeks later, I still have no fix: I Have tried un-checking and re-checking all the three location options, just the Google Location option, rebooting, installing GPS testing apps, forcing an A-GPS data refresh, clearing A-GPS cache completely, sitting outside for half an hour to get a fix. No good, all I get is location based upon wifi and GSM data.

Great description of what I've been through as well. I've tried all suggested fixes and sometimes they appear to have helped but nothing helps reliably. Normally the act of doing one of these fixes restarts the gps acquisition process so I suspect that had more to do with it. I spent over an hour last night rebooting multiple times, changing the gps.conf, trying all gps fixing apps. 5min after I gave up it was magically working again but later that evening it stopped working.

hey alex, i m also a galaxy nexus user with jelly beans, i tried doing wat u said but still it ain t working ... now what to do ?

I am android developer,creating an application related to track location through gps , but it is not working in nexus.I have tried the solution which u have give above, but not working

it is dec 31 2012, after the end of the world, solar storms, etc, and after the stated above fix, and i still have the same problem. samsung google nexus gps does not work unless data is on. if you turn data off, gps works for a little bit, then jams again. no amount of enable/disable google location services helps. i downloaded gps test app and it shows that gps only locks to actual satellites when data is on. as soon as i turn data (wifi or 3G) off, the gps loses the satellites - according to the GPS test app. seems like a software issue to me. i used to have HTC G2 phone and GPS worked solid in offline mode. never a problem.

You're not alone. I just bought the Nexus 4 BRAND NEW. When I tried using the navigation it worked for like 10 seconds then said "Searching for GPS" I tried everything and still nothing. Any solution?!?!? Should I blame T-mobile or Google

Unfortunately my Nexus 4 has the same GPS issues. Works fine after complete hard reset, then starts fading in a couple of days and become unresponsive. Have not found a solution for this yet :-(

I have never locked to a GPS on my Sammy Galaxy Nexus.
I thought maybe 4.2 would fix it . . . we got it late here in Toronto with Wind Mobile. But . . . nothing has changed.
The GPS in the notifications tab is ALWAYS searching for a GPS signal and it usually shows me several meters from where I actually am. It's almost like it's using the nearest wi-fi hub or something like that.
All my friends with iPhones (no I don't want one) always have an accurate GPS lock.
So, here we are in Spring of 2013 and it's still an issue?
It's gotta be either Google or Sammy . . . or both.

this seems to be a more widespread problem. had exactly the same problem with the new Huawei ascend mate and this fix, and after trying everything from a gps fix/status to a menu reset and a full hard reset this simple solution explains the real cause. from my reading of the forums it seems to apply to many manufacturers implementation of jelly bean.

in my job my navigation is as impotant as my phone..it is my lifeline and not sure what has happened but i have a nexus google phone and up until about a week ago it was amazing ...now it says it is running in beta and it couldnt gps me out of a cereal box if you pointed me in the right direction...i have shut it off,pulled the battery and even tried going to our virgin dealer who had no clue how to use it..(she has an iphone and doesnt use google maps) how convenient...anyways if you have any tips to turn my navigation back to original i would be grateful..cuz getting lost in the city with a load on in a tow truck would suck badly and i may throw my phone oput or run it over..thank you