The Global Positioning System (GPS) on your smartphone is a useful application that lets you use Google maps, any other navigational apps or even play augmented reality games like Pokémon Go. It’s a feature that helps you look for your way around. Thus, strong signals are important for the GPS sensors to work and a weak signal may instead get you lost. Invariably, different smartphones have different GPS sensors with varying strengths, and the below tips will allow you to enhance the GPS signals of your device.
1. The line of Sight (LOS) to the Sky
The first thing to check to strengthen your GPS signal is your location. The GPS sensor needs a clear line of sight to the sky (LOS) which means it requires a clear view of the sky for it to work properly. You should go outside under the sky for your phone to receive the signals from the GPS satellites above and ensure that it’s showing your location.
2. Turn “High Accuracy” mode on
Some of the times the signal strength may be weak even if there is a clear line of sight. At those times you can turn on the “High Accuracy” mode on to boost the signals. This mode would enable the internet and the GPS to determine the exact location. A disadvantage of this mode is it exhausts a lot of battery power. This is the reason why most of the android phones keep the precision at a moderate level for saving battery life. When the signals are weak, you always have the option to change the mode to “High Accuracy.” All you have to do is to go to Settings > Location and tap on mode and choose High Accuracy Mode.
3. Re-calibrate your GPS
Poor quality GPS signals can also be the cause for weak reception of GPS signals by your phone. This can happen due to poor calibration of your phone’s GPS which can be recalibrated through an app. There are numerous apps available in the apps store which re-calibrates your phone’s GPS. Install any one of these apps and just tap on the calibration button. The app would configure and fix your GPS. The problem may persist even after calibration and if it does the problem can be diagnosed with the inbuilt feature of the app. This will help you to understand whether the problem is software or hardware related. The app will try to detect any GPS satellite around on the phone’s range. Often there are metallic objects that may become an obstacle for the phone to receive the signals. It may be due to the malfunctioning of your phone’s hardware as well. The app will help you to detect the reason for the weak signals.
4. Re-calibrate your phone’s compass
Sometimes, although your phone’s GPS may be showing your location, it may not point you in the right direction. This may be perilous especially if you are using navigation. This issue can also be fixed through the compass app which your phone may be already having. In case it doesn’t, you can always go to the Google Play Store and download it. You can also use GPS Status to do this. Once you download the GPS Status, open the app, and it will immediately start looking for satellites. It will show if your phone is able to receive signals from the satellite clearly. If your device is able to detect signals, you need to calibrate the compass on your phone. Just tap on the screen and on clicking on the upper left, the Hamburger menu would open. Click on “Compass Calibration” and go on following the instructions presented to you.
Now, your compass is properly calibrated, and the device would be pointing to the right direction. If this fails, you can try refreshing your GPS as discussed below.
5. Refresh GPS data
If all your attempts fail and the phone still receives weak signals and is not able to locate the satellites, it is advisable to refresh your GPS data. Using the same app, tap on the “diagnose sensors” and subsequently on “GPS sensors.” A pop up would appear and tap on the “Reset” tab which would clear the cached GPS data and start from the beginning. Alternatively, you can also download and install GPS Status and the Toolbox which can help you to accomplish the same function. To begin with, tap anywhere on the app and go to the app menu and click on “Manage A-GPS State.” Tap on the Reset button and go back to the “Manage A- GPS State” and click download and then try restarting your phone. If this works your phone should be able to locate satellites faster showing your location more accurately. To check, open the Google maps and find out if the situation has really improved.
Nowadays, almost all modern smartphones have a GPS built in, and it’s essential to check its accuracy. Many factors are responsible for the GPS to work properly. The factors responsible for the GPS to work efficiently are weather, the hardware of the phone and the software. Whether you have a new phone or an old one, it’s advisable to check your GPS performance to ensure that it works well when you need it.