Android Moto G3 GPS Problem Fixed

#vanlife .

NOTE:  If your are not having issues with an Android GPS and you are looking for more posts about our travels move on to our next post.

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Having a good Nav system is critical for our travels.  Its why we ditched our on board Tom-Tom one for a separate Garmin one.  But from time to time you need quick directions and the info for a place is already on your phone.

Many months ago I started having issues with the Andriod GPS in my Motorola Moto G3 phone.  I would select a place that we would need to get too that our Garmin could not find and press start….and wait.  It would sit there and say its searching for satellites.  I checked the app GPS Test and it could find many satellites but somehow could not figure out where I was.

Reading on line I discovered it was a common problem for many Andriod Version 5 or 6 systems from Motorola, HTC and LG.  When people upgraded their phones would no longer lock onto GPS making the phone NAV system essentially useless. Apparently that is just the way they like it because they have known about it for years and have not fixed it.

From everything I read the only solution was to “root” the phone and fix the GPS file.

I started with what I thought was an unlocked phone. It was one not tied to any carrier. I needed to actually unlock using the procedure on the Motorola website. Make sure you enable developer options, usb debugging and allow OEM boot unlock

They will tell you to download the latest driver – do this.  They will tell you need the Android Studio download – you do not. It is huge and useless for fixing this issue.  Instead use Minimal ADB and Fastboot.

Once you have the phone unlocked, you need too root it.  I used fastboot to install the TWRP.  TWRP provides the ability to actually access, install and recover your operating system and to make modifications.  You need to install TWRP to have a menu when you want to install the root command.  I used TWRP(2.8.7-r7.img). Rename it to RECOVERY.img then type this in the Fastoot folder.

fastboot boot recovery.img

If you want it make it permanent after you have rebooted once, type this

fastboot flash recovery recovery.img

The Superuser file is the file that provides the root command.  I tried several that left with white screens or spinning logos.  The one that worked was the latest one – SuperSU-v2.79-201612051815.zip You can get any of them here.

I copied the file into the phone using explorer while the phone was in either fastboot mode or in recovery mode. In recovery select install and then go to wherever you put the SuperSU file on the phone and select it.
once you are rooted download any of the root checker apps to verify you are rooted. Then get a file explorer like FX and delete the offending gps.conf file in \system\etc and replace it with a new one from Dory Labs.

Note that in the file explorer you may need to unhide or unlock or unmount the folder to allow you access to change or replace it.

All that done and my Android GPS now locks on in seconds and we can be on our way.  It took an evening and some of the early hours of the morning to get it done.

 

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3 thoughts on “Android Moto G3 GPS Problem Fixed”

  1. Thank you very much! I have the same Problem with all cutom ROMs I have tried. Using now AOXP with Android 8.1, and it works supreme 🙂

    You saved my day

  2. Silly question because I don’t know enough about rooting a phone. I hear the danger of having a rooted phone is that it 1) Leaves you more open to being hit with malware 2) Disables the automatic updates

    Can I follow these steps to replace gps.conf…then like, “unroot” the phone so that all the protects and auto updates go back to the way they were?

    1. As I understand it there is a risk that others can make changes to system files once you are rooted. I have not had an issue (that I know of) since I rooted my phone. I do not add any apps except from the Play Store.

      I have thought of unrooting my phone after changing the file but never tried doing it. I am not certain if automatic updates of the operating system are desirable. It was one of those updates that screwed up the GPS in my phone.

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