Google Galaxy Nexus experiencing GPS problem with Jelly Bean

This is exactly the issue I've been experienced over the past week or so with Gnex. Fortunately there's a quick fix.

“Searching network…” – GPS lock has been a rare frustration with the Google Galaxy Nexus.

Bingo! I read this morning that users are experiencing GPS issues on the unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus sold direct by Google (i9250) running Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean). Some report they can’t connect to satellites even when several are within clear line of sight. Instead the dreaded “Searching for GPS” message comes up, rendering phone location-based services like Foursquare and Yelp, and navigation apps such as Waze gasping for crowd-sourced air.

This is exactly the issue I’ve been experienced over the past week or so with Gnex.

Not so stellar, but at least it’s good to know that I’m not alone. Hopefully an official fix will come soon. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting, and waiting, and waiting for satellite lock when you’re trying to get nav directions to get to a meeting. In the Bay Area, I’m sunk without it. I could be in Portola Valley one moment, and then need to shoot up to the financial district in SF before heading north to a winemaker meeting in Napa. Do that a few times and you realize: (a) GPS and nav are essential; (b) Bay Area traffic is an affront to the very word “motion”; and (c) Pandora is a necessary travel companion.

GPS does in fact work on the Google Nexus with Jelly Bean. It just can take a long time to finally connect, and when it does it can often by erratic. At first I thought it was failing because of my indoor location. Or maybe it was the San Francisco fog. Or the clouds rolling in across the San Jose foothills. Turns out in fact that I found one (small) feature that still works better on my trusty OG Droid (2009).

Android Central has a quick fix. By toggling “Google’s location service” in the GPS settings off and then on again all should be right with the world. I’ve done this before, and it usually helps, but not always.

Those running Ice Cream Sandwich, anxiously awaiting a JB update, can at least take solace in the fact that us early ones are taking one for the team.

A notification I don’t enjoy seeing.

This hiccup aside, life with Nexus and Jelly Bean has been brilliant – especially considering this smartphone is coming up on its 8 month birthday. Upgrade decisions can be tantalizing what with so much Android firepower out there. If you’re considering the Galaxy S III I urge you to also add the unlocked Nexus to your short list (Read: 7 reasons why you should go Nexus GSM/unlocked). You might be surprised to discover how fluid this Android has become, and how far ahead it is — 4G, larger screen, customizable widgets, best-in-class notifications —  relative to Apple’s iOS.

Update: Wouldn’t you know it, when I tried Nav this morning it locked on a satellite almost instantly.

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  • Paul Peterson

    Hey Stark.
    Love all your posts on the GNex! I am thinking about getting it from Google Play, the unlocked one like yours.
    Question. When seeing one up close at my local Mall’s wireless stores, all of them have the ICS version and seem to feel laggy or stuttery when scrolling or opening the App Drawer. Does your JB really, really help?
    Again, love your comments and insights as I think you are a interesting read :-)
    Paul, in San Diego

    • Thanks! Regarding lag, I can’t say how Gnex compares on Jelly Bean vs. ICS as when I first got it, an OTA update for Android 4.1.1 was ready to go. No lag though when opening app drawer or switching apps, etc. I’m pretty picky about that, and I’m really impressed with this phone and JB.

    • Max

      Hey Paul. I really recommend JB for the Gnex. it’s much faster and the so called butter effect really is worth the change. everything (and with everything i mean it!) runs really smooth. only your wish to get an unlocked version i don’t understand cause every Gnex is unlocked – if you just open the boatloader with a little tool even my granny could handle.

  • ol dude

    Gnex has a serious volume issue.
    I have returned mine. same problem exist with ICS and Jelly Bean OS.
    either ultra low volume or in some apps like GPS could barely hear via speaker phone or bluetooth devices.
    no fix available it’s a hardware issue…
    I would have kept the phone if it wasn’t for that…everything else was better than all phones I have purchased in the recent past……SG2, SG3, 4S..

  • Derek

    I read the volume issues was corrected by update. My GNex shows up tomorrow, I guess I’ll find out!

  • Azmath

    I have this same issue.

    The GPS on mine it went one step further (worse), it kept trying to send me in circles.