Very poor GPS reception


Like others have reported, I’ve been experiencing terrible GPS reception on my fairphone 3+ for a while. I’m not saying it takes time to “lock”, which is expected, but that it’s not usable at all. It will intermittently locate me in a large radius, then completely lose the lock for a long time. For instance, it’s impossible to track a run with any app.

I expect my FairPhone to be repairable, so what should I order and replace in it? I already asked in a little phone repair shop and they said to just change the whole phone, but I’d like to avoid that. I do need localisation though.

Thanks for your help!

For the module

Can you install the app GPS test and see what its showing?

Which OS in which Version is installed and do have Google Location Accuracy enabled? That helped me when the FP3 GPS didnt work well…

Edit: should you be using e/OS as indicated by the OP on reddit


GPS test screenshot after 5 minutes outside on a clear day:

“No Fix” - that doesn’t sound good, does it?

The phone is my partner’s, and had the issues in the official FP ROM. This is actually one of the reasons why my partner asked me to try LineageOS, to “reset” the phone, “start clean”. (she also had issues taking pictures, which took up to 30seconds+ sometimes, among other things). So LineageOS has been installed for a week only, the issue definitely was present with the FP ROM already.

So, right now Google Location Accuracy thing is not used. (but with the official ROM, it was using the accuracy thing).

The location is just unusable as it is, see an attempt to use it for a run:


I don’t know much about GPS and location stuff in general, but on my 5 yo xiaomi phone, with lineageos, without Google Location Accuracy, it works much better than that when I’m outside.
Also, my partner started complaining about this a few weeks/months ago, but she’s had the FP3+ for 3 years, so it really looks like something got broken at some point. The phone fell on the floor a few times already… Can we repair that? Isn’t that the point of FP? :wink:

You can try to injet PDDS and time data in the GPSTest App, although I would also think its more a hardware issue…

well yes and still it has its limitations

See if ifixit gives you a hint about the antenna and its connections, and if you could try any (advenutrous) self-repair.



It’s a bit frustrating since the phone seems to work nicely besides GPS, now. I think all other issues the phone had were related to an external SD card (or the reader?).

I think I’ll give lineageos+gapps a try. There’s no escape from google. :roll_eyes:

Thanks for your replies!

I would expect, if the GPS module seems working, just not getting a fix, that it would be the GPS antenna that is broken, or possible the RF side of the GPS module. It could be software, but I would expect a lot of others to report the same issue. Hope that helps.

I like that antenna theory. Any guide on how to change/fix/…? I’m not much of a hardware guy, but I can use a screwdriver.

This thread may be useful GPS trouble on FP3 (Hardware issue?)

Thanks, I’ve found this thread too. It mentions a “rear module” but I didn’t find in the fairphone shop (or elsewhere). I don’t even know what a “GPS Antenna” might look like. Any idea where I could find more info on the topic?

It seems they don’t sell this as a spare (anymore?) but one of the wiggly metal things on the back of that rear “module” is perhaps a GNSS antenna. I would assume the largest is the lowest frequencies and so covers cellular (700MHz to 2.3GHz), the one to the left of the battery. I would assume the next largest is the next highest frequency and so covers GNSS (1.1GHz to 1.5GHz), the one up near the volume buttons. That makes the smallest antenna, the one down by the USB connector, perhaps the BT/WiFi antenna (2.4 to 5GHz)? I can be wrong …

EDIT: after mucking about with GPS test app looking at the number of satellites and covering the phone antenna areas I am going to say the largest antenna area includes the GNSS antenna, covering that significantly reduces the satellites even to zero, uncovering it regains satellites. The second largest antenna is probably, thinking more about it, the secondary cellular diversity antenna. I suppose a visual inspection might show fractures in the antenna?

hi nicoco and others,
i too have GPS issues with my fairphone.
I’ve had some success with the following:
Bought an external gps usb dongle online for 9,- and hooked it up to the phone. You need to install an app called GPS connector, enable developer options and mock your gps location using the GPS connector app. In the app you will be able to select your dongle as an external GPS device.
(guide: How to connect an USB GPS Receiver with an Android Phone or Tablet?...)
This seems to work and I finally get a fix in the GPS test app. However, it takes quite some time for the first fix. It can easily be a minute. But without this, all satellites were staying at SNR 0 for me so i consider this progress.

And here’s the kicker: your can switch back from the external dongle to internal GPS in the GPS connector and as long as the app runs in the background and you use it as the location mock provider it seems to still work! I’m still testing this but it looks like it might be a software thing after all and going via the connector app but still using the internal GPS is a workaround.

Try it. And if that doesn’t work, consider a cheap external dongle.

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Thanks for this tip. I want to try, but can you share the reference of the GPS dongle you used? I’d like to avoid buying one that isn’t compatible for $RANDOM_REASON…

I guess we need one with an USB-C connector.

Sure. The article name on the webshop-who-must-not-be-named was “DollaTek GPS Smart Antenna VK-172 NEW USB GPS Receiver Ublox7 for PC Laptop Windows” for about 9,- Eur.
It does not have USB-C so I also bought an adapter. But maybe you can find a version with USB-C

Apparently “ublox7” is some sort of standard architecture for those things. It’s explicitly mentioned in the GPS connector app, too.

The weird thing is that after using the dongle it seems to continue working just with the internal GPS - but only for a while. Then it breaks again and you need to plug in the dongle until you get a fix on a few satellites. Then you can remove it again.
I probably don’t know enough about GPS to understand why this is.

If it was me I would perhaps research in the direction of A-GPS data being downloaded or not. In my understanding this precalculated satellite position data speeds up getting GPS fixes, and it is valid only for a while.

So, what if using the dongle, or perhaps the GPS test App, triggers the refresh of A-GPS data, which improves getting a GPS fix for a while … while the usual means of refreshing A-GPS data fail?
(I didn’t find out quickly right now how refreshing A-GPS data usually should work.)