How to improve GPS signal on your Android device

GPS or Global Positioning System is an elaborate set of satellites that receive and respond to queries and help your device locate your actual and exact location. GPS is one of the important features that we use to know our location, locate the distance and route to the destination as well as book cabs and other services and much more. This makes GPS is a standalone feature that makes up most of your work related to location services. A GPS signal is sent from the device to the satellites and back which pinpoints the user’s location based on data calibrated by three satellites at a time. But, there is a chance that you get inaccurate results. Yes, there is a probability that you get the wrong location or inaccurate results and it can be because of numerous software or hardware related issues.

Note that issues related to hardware require attention from qualified technicians. On the contrary, for software related issues, they can be resolved using one or other method. Since there are billions of devices across the world where at least fraction of them get inaccurate results, we devised a list of tips on fixing the issue as well as improve its signal.  Improving GPS signal gives you an edge over an issue as it will provide precise location and correlated services which might have been not possible if the signal is weak. This extract features 360-degree information about GPS and ways to improve its signals.

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What is GPS?

Global Positioning System (GPS) was developed by U.S. Army in 1973 to detect the location of their forces as well as enemies or any missile or rocket that can pose threat to homeland security. But in 1995, GPS was unveiled for use by civilians and the technique has since been developed and advanced to reach the optimum precision that it shows. Earlier, there were 24 satellites in the geosynchronous orbit for GPS however, the number was increased to 31 satellites. When user requests location on their smartphone, the GPS signal is sent to these satellites using GPS antenna. In response, three satellites respond to the device with its precise location. GPS Antenna is a physical hardware which is run by its competent driver which is a part of software together which, it depicts on real-time location of the smartphone. Mainly, there are three sources which can cause errors in GPS signal.

  • Quality of GPS antenna mounted on the smartphone.
  • A total number of GPS satellites present at the user’s relative location.
  • Driver and how it implements the use of GPS antenna with the OS.

How to improve GPS signal on your Android device?

All the tips stated below are on the pretext that there is nothing wrong with the GPS related hardware on our device. I have covered most of the methods to improve GPS signal on your smartphone keeping software in the center of discussion.

Check Your Location

Is there something wrong with the GPS? Even if there’s something wrong, how would you know it? First, analyze if the location depicted by the GPS is correct or not.

  • Simply open the Google Maps and enable the location of your location.
  • Now, click on the symbol gps
  • Let the app register your location.
  • Once the location is displayed on the screen, you can compare your actual location with the resultant location on Google Maps.
  • Perhaps, it will enable you to gauge if there is an error with the GPS signal or not.

Turn on “High Accuracy” on your phone

Like any other feature on your android smartphone, there are settings available in the Location Settings which you tweak to get favorable results. It is possible that you have accidentally turned off high accuracy mode for GPS which often results in inaccurate of off-centered location.

  • Open the ‘Settings’ tool on your smartphone.
  • Proceed to the Location Services or click on ‘GPS’.
  • Now, click on Location Settings and select the option ‘High Accuracy’.
  • The device will prompt you to agree on using this mode so accept it.
  • Once, you have enabled it, you can check your location on Google Maps again to see if there are any changes in the accuracy of results or not.

Calibrate the direction of the device

When you tried accessing the location and route to a destination, the phone shows correct location but the inaccurate direction, what should you do? It is probably because the device isn’t properly calibrated with the compass and therefore, the easy fix for this issue is to calibrate it using a compass. If you don’t have built-in compass app, you can download it from the Google Play Store and use for this purpose. Once you download an app and install it, click on “Compass Calibration” and that must take you to the next screen where the phone is required to be moved in the direction of the compass to detect proper direction. Once you have calibrated the direction on the phone, it must work properly now.

Reset GPS on your phone

Resetting the GPS settings and cache may fix the issue and improve GPS signal further. To reset the GPS cache, you can go to ‘Settings > Apps’. Proceed to the ‘All’ section of the app and search for GPS related apps and click on ‘Clear Cache’ button. Another way around is to use a third-party app like ‘GPS Status’. Follow the step-by-step method as propounded below.

  1. Open the app GPS Status.
  2. Tap on ‘Diagnose Sensors’ and then, select ‘GPS Sensor’.
  3. A dialog box will appear on-screen where you need to click on ‘Reset’ button.
  4. It will automatically clear all the data and start GPS from scratch.
  5. This method is both convenient and effective as it is easy to implement and you can expect high-accuracy location-based results.

Use GPS Essentials to find the root cause of the error

Most of the times, users are unaware of the reason behind any error or issue. For smartphones, errors can be due to hardware or software which are ultimately the two main aspects of a system. With GPS Essentials, you can evaluate if the issue related to GPS signal is due to a software problem or a hardware one. This will allow you to take necessary actions. When you use this app, tap on Satellites option to search for nearby satellites which is ultimately what happens when you try to catch your location on your device. The output can be of two types. First, you’ll be able to see the satellites or not. If yes, then it is probably a software related issue but it turns out that the device isn’t scanning any nearby satellite, then it is probably because of hardware related issues. There are fixes available to improve GPS signal if there is any software problem like this list of tips, however, when the problem is a hardware such as GPS antenna or another component of the GPS setting, it must be dealt with care and you must report it to the authorized technicians which are the last solution in the list.

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Purchase an external GPS receiver

This is something worth reading. If there is an excess damage to the GPS receiver on your phone, there is an option available where you can purchase an ‘external GPS receiver’ too. This antenna will work the same as internal GPS setting and it can be mounted on the device as well. You can charge it using the same charger i.e. USB-C and connect it to the device using Bluetooth. Purchasing external antennas gives you more benefit as you can tweak into the requirements. You can set your budget, bargain with the seller and get it fixed at a nominal rate.  

Contact the service center

The last resort if nothing works from this explicit guide is to report the issue to a service center. You can learn about the exact problem at the center and get a proper fix for it. If your phone is under warranty, do not waste time more and go to an authorized service center. It will save the warranty on the phone as well as fix the issue.

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