Friday, April 29, 2016

Was it a coincidence that the GPS issue was fixed by downgrading to KitKat?

In the previous post, I mentioned that I downgraded the version of Android OS running in my Nexus 5 to KitKat from Marshmallow to fix GPS signal issue that I had been experiencing heavily in  the last few days. It seemed to fix the problem, but was it the software downgrading that really fixed the issue?

I researched more about this topic and people were claiming that the real reason behind this phenomena is not a software problem, but a bad connection between the terminals of the GPS antenna and the receiver circuit. If you open up the phone and slid a piece of paper underneath the antenna module to make the terminals protrude a little bit more than usual, they claim this issue goes away. Opening the Nexus 5 sounds like an adventurous thing to do but as per ifixtit's teardown manual of the Nexus 5, it looks like a straightforward thing if you have a plastic opener, which I sadly do not have.

But if this is the real cause of the issue, why did downgrading to KitKat seemed to have fixed the problem? There still could be a deficiency with newer firmware. Or, by chance, the contact between the antenna terminals and the circuitry improved, which means that it will go bad again. We will never know.

Unless of course, I switch back to Marshmallow, make it behave as erroneously as it used to and apply the GPS antenna fix and observe the results. If it goes back to functioning like a proper phone after applying the GPS antenna fix, then I can switch back to I Marshmallow and probably hold off buying a new phone. I can do this test, but since I don't have a plastic phone opening tool, it will have to wait a bit longer.

Time to order a plastic phone opening tool I suppose.

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