Samsung GPS Issues: Samsung Galaxy S Facing Problems With GPS Navigation

By Jay Shah | Cell Phones


If you are planning to buy the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone anytime soon, perhaps you should take your time because the phone has GPS problems which prevent you from getting a precise lock on your location. While this may not be a real dampener if you are not planning to use the GPS feature that much, it is a flaw in the phone nonetheless.

And if you do plan to use it for GPS navigation or fitness tracking, then you will have a dud in your hands. Thankfully Samsung has promised to rectify this problem via phone updates it will release in September. Even the Samsung Vibrant and the Samsung Captivate have the same problem and the updates will affect these phones too .

And to allay your fears about the Epic 4G: it does not have a GPS problem. This has been revealed by both independent tests and an official statement from Samsung in the wake of the GPS issues surrounding the other phones. Both the network assisted (indoor) and outdoor GPS work fine on the Epic.


Google Maps gives pretty precise locations on the Epic 4G and thus you can go ahead and get the phone when it finally launches on the 31st of this month. While that is good news, you should hope that the updates actually take care of the GPS problems. Problems? Yes actually there are two at this moment on the Galaxy S, Vibrant and Captivate.

The first one as mentioned earlier is an inability to pin-point your location via GPS even with wireless networks turned on. At the most what you get is a location roughly off the mark by 1000-1500 meters, which to say the least is pretty useless.

The second problem and one that is related to the first is that the GPS circuitry and software are not working. Particularly the Galaxy S models are failing to convert GPS signals into precise coordinates and hence the problems. No home brew solutions have been developed for these problems so far and the hope rests solely on the promised firmware upgrades.

It is indeed baffling how most smartphones these days are coming out with glitches which are anything but minor.

About the Author

Jay simply loves any tech that can make life easier, better, faster and more enjoyable. And with hundreds if not thousands of Gadgets, Apps, Games being launched everyday, there's more than enough out there to keep this hardcore techie occupied and obsessed!

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(17) comments

Mumtaz March 12, 2011

I am using Samsung Galaxi S (GT-I9000)for the last 5 months now and I am really not happy with it. It is not only Navigation there are many other problems as well.
Most of the time when some one call me my phone goes to voice messag, say that this number (my number)is turn off/bussy please leave a message and I receive a message as well that this person called you but left no message. But that time my phone is free and on.
Some time it dosn’t open the required site on the internet and when I restart my handset then I can open my required site.
These problems are not with me only, may friends are also coplainig the same.
There is no hardware problem with my set.

Gene January 21, 2011

“…it will release in September…”
– September of what year??

“…when it finally launches on the 31st of this month…”
– Which month is that??

This is a plea to everyone on the Internet: Please provide the date when your article is written or published! Thank you.

nebojsa kozel September 8, 2010

I’ve got galaxy s, build number eclair.xwjg51 and no problem pin-pointing my location in google maps with only gps active down to 2 meters.

dan August 27, 2010

I’ve had this phone (Captivate) for a few weeks- no amount of tweaking makes GPS work reliably. I’ve tried it on the road and on foot from Atlantic City up to Vermont- it doesn’t work. Location by Cell and/or Satellite is poor.

If it doesn’t work for you, I suggest you contact your carrier and Samsung. I know there is a fix in the works- but letting them know the extent of the problem can only help people with it. Don’t just complain on these boards- tell Samsung.

In general, this phone: Fantastic
GPS- Craptastic

Additionally/as an aside- The phone in general has worse cell reception than my BBerry which gets signal. (Both on AT&T) YMMV.

Rca August 23, 2010

Those who are saying they are pinpointing to five meters are lying, as evidenced by the fact that its the same post with three names. I went to att, we went through four devices, and not one would lock on. The blackberry torch and iphone had no issues.

Samsung confirms the problem, but has no idea at the moment what is causing it. If its hardware, you’re screwed.

Its not baffling when you consider that the phone was rushed to market to capture the iphone market while there is a wait list. If producers would create markets rather than try to capture them with a rushed pos, it wouldn’t happen (and our economy would not be tanking).

This is written on a captivate that is going back if samsung doesn’t fix it by day 29 of my purchase.

    Steve September 30, 2010

    I am sure the problem is the Wifi, when it is on i think the phone uses this in prefferance to the gps, if the wifi is turned off it will still turn on buy itself and then cause the conflict with gps. I have tryed this a dozen times if you can keep the wifi from turning on the gps works fine. Keeping the wifi off seems to be prob. Switching between using the compass and checking drop down menu if you are quick you see wifi power down, go back into the compass and then back to the drop down menu you will catch wifi powering down. Hopefully it will be fixed will v2.2

Derek August 22, 2010

I have a Tmobile Vibrant and I had the same issues with the GPS but there is a fix out there. Here is a link detailing what you can do to fix it: [link] This fixed GPS on my phone, now it locks on pretty quick. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that we were sold broken phones, these phones are absolutely amazing. At least it’s not an iPhone, Cliq/Dext or Behold 2, lol.

    Mike January 15, 2011

    Doesn’t work. That “fix” is a waste of time.

nesafarm August 22, 2010

I’ve got Galaxy S, build number eclair.xwjg5 and no problem pin-pointing my location in google maps down to 5 meters at all.

nebojsa August 22, 2010

I’ve got galaxy s, build number eclair.xwjg5 and no problem pin-pointing my location with only gps active down to 5 meters.
Kind regards

nesafarm August 22, 2010

I’ve got GT-I9000 galaxy S, build number eclair.xwjg5 and no problem with pinpointing my location down to 5 meters whatsoever.

Cobolt August 22, 2010


This website shows the quick fix to get rid of the GPS bug.

It really is no big issue.

Ryan August 22, 2010

I’ve had on and off luck with my galaxy s’s GPS. If the weather is good, it works pretty well. if it’s cloudy at all though, it has lots of trouble.

I use it all the time and have been disappointed with the results most of the time.

Also, using GPS with google navigation seems to be the only reason my phone freezes or crashes. It happens more than I think is acceptable.

It’s an amazing phone otherwise, and I truly do hope they fix the GPS soon!


Halogoth August 21, 2010

Returning my Captivate tomorrow. ATT will drop the restocking fee if you bug them enough. This problem is well documented and it isn’t difficult to show them that they sold you a broken device. For now, I’ll go back to my old phone and see what happens. I’d hate to get stuck with a smartphone that couldn’t perform to specifications. I feel bad for all those who were unknowingly thrown into the role of “product tester”. So ATT has broken GPS on Captivate and reception issues on the iPhone. Seems like competing mobile phone companies simply need to release devices with only minor problems and they will instantly become a best-seller. I’d buy one…

    nebojsa August 22, 2010

    I’ve got galaxy s, build number eclair.xwjg5 and no problem pin-pointing my location in google maps with only gps active down to 5 meters.

      yeah yeah August 23, 2010

      We heard you the first two times. The rest of us don’t have working GPS. Lucky you.

      Rca August 23, 2010

      We all know none of them work, including yours. What?…are you with their marketing department?

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