I just received a new Samsung S20 Ultra 5G and have been experiencing what apparently is the very common, infamous GPS locking bug. As most of you probably know by now, the behavior is that the GPS fails to consistently lock onto a specific location in location based applications like Google Maps, Waze, and even Yelp (wouldn't let me into the app as it thought GPS was disabled when I first launched the app).
My phone is an unlocked on T-Mobile and has received the Samsung One UI 2.5 update, but the issue was present before the update as well. My current workaround is manually locking the GPS across applications using the "GPS Locker" app on the Play store. However, if GPS locker decides to close in the background, I will lose my GPS lock and be stuck again. Is this a hardware issue and I need a new phone, or is this a software issue affecting specific users with no relationship to the hardware?
What I have tried:
Rebooting and launching the Maps app (works for a short time then fails Update: does not work anymore)
Deleting Partition Cache (no effect)
Disabling 5G (no effect)
Disabling and re-enabling Location services (no effect)
Booting into safe-mode (no effect)
GPS Lock Third party app (works but cmon Samsung)
From what I gather, Samsung is not willing to acknowledge these issues. Is there anyone out there that has a solution that doesn't require booting a third-party "GPS Lock" app with ads just to use a very basic service on their phone?
Edit: Scratch that, GPS Locker now does not work, apparently it was a fluke.
- S20 Ultra 5G
To continue documenting this issue, I've come up with a workaround that has worked twice for me in the last two days:
Close all location requiring apps
Change the connection type for data from 5G -> LTE or LTE -> 5G (doesn't seem to matter)(Update: doesn't work for me anymore, updates below on what now works)
Immediately open your location requiring application
Temporary success until the location app is closed or goes into sleep
@samsung: The issue appears to be when GPS requiring applications go into the background, the handoff from background GPS to foreground GPS requirements doesn't mesh well with the cell antennae in the phones. The issue can be circumvented if the first application after the cell service is disabled is the location requiring application. There is an android/Samsung service that controls cellular that must be disabled while the GPS attempts to lock, but I cannot figure out which one it is specifically.
I have the same issue. Samsung does not seem to care and never admit there is a problem and say they are working on a solution. I want to say this is a software issue so there must be a solution but apparently $1200 for a phone is not enough for Samsung to put all their effort into fixing this problem.
Week 2 of Troubleshooting:
TL:DR: toggling cell doesn't work anymore, toggling location repeatedly until gps locks apparently works.
Changing connection type from 5G -> LTE or LTE -> 5G does not work anymore. What has started working is toggling location settings. So far, it works 80% of the time per cycle, aka, I can keep on toggling the location until the GPS syncs up. This has worked for the last 3 days every time. Again, it's not 100%, but I can get the GPS to lock up when I need it with just a few button presses in the quick settings.
What I suspect is still something to do with a service that causes interruption with the GPS lock ability. Toggling location apparently does affect this service, rebooting and launching immediately into Maps still works, so there's a Samsung or Android service that is causing this issue. Maybe it's tied to hardware, but all I know is that however GPS locks positioning on a mobile device, it must occur in a small time range.
I'm assuming a chip on the SOC that's in charge of GPS must perform an action in order to go from "Hey satellites, where are you?" to "Lock on to my position with said satellites". That action doesn't always work, as if when location is passively running for nearby location data, it has difficulty updating to actively running for accurate, >10m accuracy. The reason I think it has something to do with passive to active is that location will work perfectly when GPS is locked but requires reboots or antennae reboots in order to work aka it needs to be forced into active state because it fails to transition smoothly.
Interesting behaviors: when the GPS is failing to lock, there are multiple behaviors.
1. GPS will occassionally update periodically. It is pretty consistent how often it updates, feels like every 15-30 seconds. However, on some occasions, it locks every minute or even 5 minutes. But it's always consistent. For 2-3 seconds, it will perfectly monitor my speed and location, but then halt until the next update.
2. GPS will lock on to a nearby location where I've never been but was close to. If i'm driving down a highway, it will lock onto a culdesac .25 miles away from me and just stay there.
3. GPS will lock on perfectly to where I was but never update.
My gps took me on a half hour detour yesterday. Almost did it about 10 times, taking unrealistic, and long ways to detour around back to a toll road. Absolutely dissapointed coming from a note 8 where the gps stopped working soon after purchase. Last samsung phone unless this is addressed promptly. NOW WASTING MY TIME AND MONEY. STEP UP SAMSUNG ( Note20 ultra 5g in Canada)
Have you tried clearing the cache partition on your phone?
- Turn off the device.
- Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby / Power key.
- When the Android logo displays, release both keys.
- An 'Installing system update' message may show briefly before the Android Recovery menu options appear.
- Press the Volume down key several times to highlight Wipe cache partition.
- Press Bixby / Power key to select.
- Press the Volume down key to highlight Yes, then press the Bixby / Power key to select.
- When the process is complete, Reboot system now is highlighted.
- Press the Bixby / Power key to restart the device.