Verizon iPhone GPS issues
I've been having trouble with my GPS signal going in and out while using the Navigon GPS app. It finds the GPS signal fast but won't stay "locked on". It seems like quite a few people are having this same problem after reading a couple threads on other forums. Has anyone that's had trouble with losing GPS signal been able to find a remedy?
- 02-10-2011, 03:31 PM #2
- 02-10-2011, 03:32 PM #3
A lot of them having been with the same Navigon app. But recently a corporate user noticed gps issues within his company's application. He has posted up debugging info so maybe it's a fixable bug with an update.
It's a bummer paying $50 for an app that doesn't work properly then seeing it on sale the next day for $25 lol. I'll try closing out all apps and seeing if that helps. Thanks for the advice kch50428!
- 02-10-2011, 04:53 PM #5
- 02-10-2011, 05:12 PM #6
- 02-10-2011, 05:53 PM #7
- 02-10-2011, 07:04 PM #9
- 02-10-2011, 07:11 PM #10
- 02-10-2011, 08:15 PM #11
Interesting. I have noticed some signal loss at times despite the previous second having full signal, and complete open sky. I have my phone in a nice mount on the dash with full view of the sky. Now, I would expect some loss with tall trees or buildings, since the chip in the phone must be small and not using SIRF III or anything like that such as a dedicated unit, but still. Wonder if it is a firmware issue, or just an inherent problem with this GPS. The chip is onboard rather than separate on this phone. This is a difference with the ATT iPhone. Wonder if they have noticed problems. Anybody know how the ATT unit does?
- 02-10-2011, 09:44 PM #12
I've noticed the iPhone doesn't seem to pick up as strong a signal as my Droid did with regards to GPS. When the phone is in my cup holder or on the console in the car, it loses the GPS signal pretty often, but not the Pandora signal. If I move the phone to the dash or a windshield mounted dock, it seems to hold the GPS signal no problems.
- 02-10-2011, 10:11 PM #13
- 02-11-2011, 10:49 AM #14
OK, so MotionX GPS drive issued an update yesterday to their app, specifically for Verizon optimization. Don't know what they meant since there were no release notes. I used it today to travel to a different office, and it was flawless. A spot in the redwoods where the thing got lost a few days ago held solid today. I am hopeful their update solved some issue with the Verizon GPS. It worked perfectly today.
- 03-03-2011, 05:48 PM #15
I'd had an HTC Eris. Traded up (?) to the iPhone. I'm a bit of a GPS power user - junkie, if you will. Not an expert, I just get a LOT of use from it. I loved the Google Navigator on the Android phone, and while not perfect (I've yet to see any GPS unit, software, or app that is) it was very dependable and accurate AND was included with the OS and integrated neatly into nearly everything on the phone that had any type of address in it.
Browsing through Apple's app store on my iPod Touch, I'd seen screenshots of the UI for MotionX Drive and was just drooling over its features, so I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on the iPhone and that was the first app installed, once I got it.
From the first use, I noticed it would occasionally lose GPS signal. The iPhone resides in the same mount, in the same location that the Eris did. I repositioned it to get it farther down the windshield and away from the roof of the vehicle, more. No change. So here are the steps I took to troubleshoot:
Installed and tried Waze, Mapquest, VZ Navigator, and Skobbler. They all exhibit the same problem. They lose GPS signal every 3-4 minutes for about 15 secs to a minute (sometimes longer), then it returns.
Tried turning off location services to everything but the GPS app that I was currently using - no change. Tried uninstalling all apps that use GPS, rebooted phone, went to location services and disabled it for the native maps app, the camera, and the native compass, reinstalled MotionX, rebooted phone once more, turned on location services just for MotionX, tried it - no change.
Called Verizon customer support. They couldn't help so they patched me through to an Apple rep who insisted it had to be a faulty app. I asked, "So, you're telling me that five different app developers wrote the same faulty code into five different apps?" His response was for me to contact the app developer. I did (MotionX). They responded promptly and told me they hadn't seen any issues like that, at that time.
At this point, I figure the process of elimination means a faulty OS loaded on the phone, or a bad GPS chipset. I take it to the Apple store and they do a DFU (I think that's what it was called), essentially wiping the phone clean back to its original state with a clean install of the OS. I load MotionX, and only MotionX, while still in the store and tested it on my way home from the store - it does it, again.
I go back the next day, they graciously swap the phone, with apologies. I do the same thing as the night before with one exception - I realize that there is one other common denominator - the Belkin USB power adapter that I'd been using all along. So, without plugging it in to the vehicle power adapter, I use MotionX running on a full battery charge and... yeah, it does the same thing.
All three times I dealt with an Apple rep, they asked me if I had a good 3G signal because they said the GPS has to have that to work properly. Most of the time when the problem occurs, I have good data signal. Also, if what they are saying is true, then the apps which store the map data on the phone (Tom-Tom, Navigon, ?) are worthless, so I have to call BS on that one. All the apps I've used have acquired a fix almost immediately, they just intermittently lose it, thereafter. My understanding is that the initial fix is where the 3G signal helps. I also understand that Verizon's technology only allows for connection to one cell tower at a time, so that means no triangulation and very poor accuracy for navigating.
Here's the kicker: they say I have to have 3G for the GPS to work and the two times that the GPS has worked the best and stayed on for the longest amount of time (45 mins to a little over an hour without ever dropping out) was on the same stretch of road, on two different days, in a very remote area where I lose voice and data signal, completely. Perhaps the radio in the phone is the culprit?
I know this is long-winded, but I wanted to let everyone else know what I've tried and to hopefully arm you with some information to take to Apple and/or Verizon. I personally think they're about to have a bunch of angry customers over this. I've been severely irritated since I took delivery of mine on the eighth of Feb.
- 03-03-2011, 06:26 PM #16
I concur. There is a problem. I have the same issues as you. The one that seems to perform the best is Maps. I wonder if that's because it's a native app. Navigon on my AT&T iPhone never had any issues. What I do, is when I wanna use GPS, I tether my Incredible to my iPhone and use Google Maps on the Incredible until this issue gets fixed.
- 03-03-2011, 07:21 PM #17
Yeah, I forgot to add that I had tried the native Maps and I never noticed it lose signal, either, but I couldn't swear by that since I only tried it once on a 20 minute drive into work in busy traffic and I couldn't devote my full visual attention to watch the "ping" rings. MotionX will actually announce that GPS signal is lost and Waze makes some type of noise that calls attention to it so you know immediately when it occurs.
- 03-03-2011, 08:10 PM #18
I'm rather a GPS junkie myself - haven't played much with GPS on my iPhone... but after reading more of the thread, and Googling on the topic, I've seen that the iPhone itself relies on assisted GPS (A-GPS). I've also been playing with a BadElf GPS device on my wifi iPad - and that works splendidly. And right now, I'm playing with it on my iPhone, in airplane mode - with the TomTom & Navigon Apps - the TomTom app told me to turn off airplane mode, but the BadElf gives a great satellite lock; the Navigon locks fine in airplane mode with no error; of course the native Map app does nothing in Airplane mode... the little I've used the iPhone while in the car I've seen it drop satellite lock once on the Navigon app. I'll still rely on my Garmin Nuvi for in the car, and supplement with the BadElf/iPad... and the iPhone as a 3rd back-up option.
- 03-03-2011, 08:42 PM #19
On my Navigon on my iPhone, the speed is constantly going to 0 then back to correct speed...back and forth. Navigon on my iPad doesn't do that. Ever. TomTom on my iPhone doesn't lose speed but it has lost GPS signal. Again, on my iPad TomTom works great. There is something amiss here, and Apple/Verizon need to get this rectified. Until then, I'll rely on my Incredible tethered to my iPhone.
- 03-03-2011, 09:04 PM #20
- 03-03-2011, 09:40 PM #21
Some interesting reading...
GPS in a smartphone? -- page 2 has the best stuff... and
Verizon Developer Community - Go to Market -- goes into developer level detail on Location Based Services - and how & what Verizon supports.
And for those who are serious about GPS - you might want to consider an add-on GPS - capable of stand-alone operation. TomTom sells an iPhone4 cradle that includes a GPS receiver in the cradle itself to supplement the phone's GPS capabilities. Or, the BadElf device, available on Amazon.com - which will, with the right app - make an iPod-Touch, or wifi iPad a stand-alone GPS, as well as add supplemental GPS capabilities to the iPhone4.
Last edited by kch50428; 03-03-2011 at 09:55 PM. Reason: revised
- 03-03-2011, 11:12 PM #22
My iPad already is a great GPS device. I used the built in Google Maps on my way home from work tonight. A 25 minute drive and not once did it lose GPS signal. On this same trip, over the past 2 weeks, ANY 3rd party app...Navigon, TomTom, MotionX, Mapquest and even a speedometer app has lost GPS reception. There is nothing wrong with the GPS in the Verizon iPhone, but it does not play good with any 3rd party GPS apps on some Verizon iPhones, mine being one of them.
- 03-04-2011, 06:12 AM #23
That's what I figured, too, since the Maps app never seems to lose signal. Problem is, it leaves so much to be desired as a real-time navigator. Apps such as MotionX are a large part of why I gave up the Android phone for this one and unless Apple or Verizon had announced that their version of iPhone would have seemingly, second rate GPS performance compared to AT&Ts model, then they should be obligated to rectify the issue. There's no good reason why if it works satisfactorily on one network, it can't work (or be made to work) just as well on another.
- 03-04-2011, 08:46 AM #24
I am going to try (and you should too) to put the phone in Airplane mode to take the cell portion out of the equation and just use Navigon as a stand alone GPS and see if that makes a difference. But you can't do that if you don't have one of the GPS that has the maps stored onboard. I am going to try it with Navigon on my way home from work tonight.
- 03-04-2011, 09:11 AM #25
I had thought of that. My Eris kept the GPS receiver on while in airplane mode, but it seemed like I read in the iPhone user manual or somewhere else that the iPhone GPS is disabled in airplane mode. It's worth a try, though. And MotionX allows you to pre-load your route and set an amount of memory aside, up to 2 GB, to cache that data plus anyplace you've previously driven, as well. So, I'll try it with that one. Good tip.