Location services are WAY off


I have noticed recently that my location services are saying that I am well over 100 miles away from my actual location: it says I am in Montrose, but I am actually south of Inverness! One one occasion I kept zooming in to the location and it seemed to recognise that it was wrong, but then it jumped to Inverness and almost immediately back to Montrose and I can’t get it to recognise my actual location.

What’s weird is that I have never been to this location so it’s wouldn’t be in my location history to somehow be stuck on it.

It is doing this in all the apps that have access to my location when I have it switched on. I have restarted the phone multiple times, updated the latest Fairphone software, I have reported the issue to both googlemaps and other apps that use my location but no joy.

When checking the ‘GPS is not working’ support page on here, it states that I should go to Settings > Location access > GPS satellites and from there activate A-GPS and EPO, and download the newest EPO files. However, when I go into my settings I do not have an option for Location access, only Location, which just shows what my Mode is (High accuracy) and which apps have made recent location requests.

I have tried to recalibrate the compass by GoogleMaps recommendations, and I have settings so that I should be using GPS, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and mobile networks to determine location.

Please can anyone advice what the issue may be or how I can fix it? I would like to avoid a factory reset if I can!

Many thanks,


It’s not a GPS geolocation problem, but a network location issue.

Putting it short, use “device only” (i.e. GPS) location when you want a precise positioning.

Network location is a service provided by Google Mobile Services on regular commercial Android phones (or UnifiedNLP/microG if you chose to install it on FP Open or LineageOS). It works the following way: phone checks distance from mobile celltowers and Wi-Fi hotspots nearby, send that information to Google (!), Google correlate it with its huge databases and returns an approximate location. The process is called “triangulation”.
When Google lacks information of towers or Wi-Fi hotspots, which seems to be the case, location may be unaccurate.

Note: Change Google for your UnifiedNLP location provider (local DB, Mozilla, Apple…) if lacking Google Mobile Services, obviously.

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Thanks Roboe,

I have just changed location services to Device Only and it’s sadly not reading anything.Where I live is fairly remote and I don’t exactly have great signal so I rely on WiFi mostly. I’ve never had this problem before though and certainly if I’ve ever been setting off on a journey and using google maps I have always set up my directions etc at home using the Wifi before I set off as signal can be so poor here and it’s always been fine.

I don’t understand what has changed for it to be suddenly thinking I’m so far away in a place I’ve never even been near!

Apologies if I’m missing the obvious, I’m not exactly a techno-wizard!

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You write you live fairly remote. Do you have neighbors who’s WiFi you can receive? Did your neighbors recently move there and brought their router with them?

These location services are great: I used to work for a company that was busy with car2x communication. The cars were equipped with a WiFi access point. In one project there were regular meetings of the project partners at a former US barrack in Germany. Later on a different project with the same cars met in the Netherlands. In that project we had an Android tablet as display in the cars and it used the location services. The GPS reception under the windscreen was not always good so what we saw was that the displayed location jumped between the US barracks in Germany and the motorway in the Netherlands, although the tablets have never been to these barracks. Why could this happen? Other Android devices have been there in Germany and have received the access points in the cars there and together with their location data they gathered from their GPS they could report to Google that if you receive these APs then you’re most likely at the barracks in Germany. So when the APs were moved to the Netherlands and the other Android devices didn’t have good GPS reception they fell back on the Google location services and knew that if they received these APs then…
So if you use “Device Only” ensure that you get close to a window for some time (not more than 1-2 minutes), then your phone should see enough GPS satellites to know where you are. Even if you don’t use “Device Only” it makes sense to show your phone the satellites. If my assumption is correct then your phone should be able to report the new location of your neighbor’s access point to Google in that way…


Well than your GPS is not working (at least where you are). GPS doesn’t have anything to do with bad cellular of wifi signal, you just need a clear few of the sky. Check out the #gpsguide for some tips on how to improve your GPS. If nothing there works your GPS may be broken.

If you’re having trouble getting a GPS fix at all being close to the window is not enough and it may take 10 minutes or more to get a first fix. Next times should be faster then though.

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Hi Martin,

No we cannot reach the neighbours wifi, but even so they have lived here nearly as long as us (11 years)… I never had problems with previous phones.

We did change our service provider a few months back, would that affect the location recognition of the wifi? If so do you know how i would find this to change it?

I went outside and got the signal, and it corrected itself and put it to the right location, but then as soon as I connect to wifi again it takes it back to Montrose?! So confused!

Hi Paul,

I know that I don’t have GPS signal here, but usually it works through the wifi to locate me, not sure why this has suddenly changed?

I have looked at this and hit the same issue that my settings do not that the ‘Location access’ option, just ‘Location’

As long as you can see the sky and are on planet Earth you will virtually always have GPS reception which you shouldn’t mix up with GSM or GPRS. While GPS comes to you via satellites and is a one-way technology for positioning, GSM and GPRS are two-way technologies for communication (calling and data exchange).
You said you changed your ISP. That might explain what you are seeing. Check this website (and also read the explanation how it works): https://tools.keycdn.com/geo
I have just checked it for my IP address and it’s more than 200 miles off for me, too. So the only thing you can try is to get outside under the open sky, get GPS reception and convince Google’s location service that your IP address belongs to your location :slight_smile:

Please #callmepaula.

But also it says:

Location Access only exists on the FP1, but since your GPS seems to work anyways you don’t have to fix it. :wink:

Obviously there is something wrong with your Network Location Provider. Are you on standard Fairphone OS with G%§$e or on FP Open (and in the later case do you have microg unified NLP installed)?

I have the same issue with certain services. It is because my IP address is not static, its semi static (cable, DHCP, yada yada) and the IP address has been used by a previous customer who has been data mined as living on that other location (near Rotterdam). Other databases claim I live in Amsterdam, but thats probably a wild guess cause Amsterdam has loads of big data centers.

The solution is to rely on GPS and not on WiFi.

You can test it out here btw https://ipleak.net/ on the bottom at the map. Does that correspond with the wrong location? I’m not sure which database they use.

GeoIP is a known IP location database. https://www.geoiptool.com/ also shows the wrong location (a location in North-Brabant) does that correspond with the wrong location for you?

It might be possible to submit the correct location for either of these services. Personally, I’m cool with it being wrong, and my WiFi AP contains _nomap at the end to avoid Google using it in their database.


That’s interesting. Having learned something new.
While ipleak is about 150 km off, geoiptool is just about 5 km off.

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