Samsung Captivate Sees GPS Fix in Minor Update


A common complaint among some early adopters of the Galaxy S series phones in the United States is that the GPS is less than accurate 100% of the time.  Samsung and AT&T were aware of the issue and were working to put something together.  Today sees the fruits of their labor as Samsung has begun rolling out an update.

Official word from Samsung:

An update to improve the Samsung Captivate’s GPS performance is now available. Captivate customers will receive a notification on their device that an update is available and will simply need to download the file to update their phone. The updates will be pushed to customers’ devices over the next few weeks.

The update for the Captivate will also improve additional device functions, such as media scanning time, add the full version of Quickoffice and address Microsoft Exchange 2003 policy support.

Captivate owners, keep your eyes peeled for the update!

  • JP

    Checked for update and it is downloading now! Sure hope this really fixes the GPS.

  • Nope, didn’t fix my GPS issues… no 2.2 and not GPS so I wonder that the purpose of this update really was? Major let down.

    • Mike

      Agree….. I downloaded the update yesterday and, at first, thought maybe it had improved. After testing several times during the day and again this morning I can see no improvement in the GPS. This morning I stood outside by the side of my house (it is raining) and after about 3 min it could only find 2 satellites.

      I have dealt with GPS for over 17 years. My wife and I are sailors and have had GPS nav aids on our boat since 1993 (in those days a Trimble cost around $5K and only gave lat/lon).

      Maybe I will have to carry a sextant along with my Samsung Captivate from now on.

      I really like the phone (my wife has one also) but I am really tempted to return it before the 30 days is up and go look at what Sprint has to offer.

    • Wampro

      Guys I’m running a stock version of the Captivate, I did the update hoping to fix the GPS myself and to my dismay it fixed nothing and actually made my phone run worse. I called Galaxy S support and after some painstaking hold times I finally got thru to a level 3 support guy. I told him that the update downloaded and installed over the air properly, the phone rebooted on its own and that I was having the problems I stated earlier. He had me back up my phone (which it turns out I didn’t need to as far as music and pics went) and then had me open the dialer and enter *2767*3855#. This immediately took the phone into what he called a “GSM Reset”, this was different than the factory reset, it took all of 3 minutes if that and the phone was back up and running. He got off the phone with me and told me to call him back if there were any problems persisting. I immediately went outside, the gps got a lock in 8 seconds. I couldn’t believe how fast it locked. My contacts were synced with at&t address book, as soon as I opened the contacts app the phone asked if I wanted to sync my phone, within 5 minutes every one of my 178 contacts had downloaded back into my phone. While my address book was syncing I noticed the pictures I was assigning to my contacts were reappearing. I checked my gallery and every single pic that was on the phone was still there, I then checked the music and all my music was there too. I immediately noticed how much faster the phone was running. I went to the adroid market, hit the menu button, selected downloads and all the apps that I had purchased and downloaded were there waiting for me to reinstall. I downloaded over the 3G network 30 applications in about 8 minutes. I think the update actually “clocked up” the processor, I can’t believe how responsive the phone is, nor can I believe how much faster the internet is running.

      Being skeptical that it was a temporary fix, I shut the phone off and restarted it, the gps locked again in 3 seconds this time. I tried the navigator built into the google maps app and it was flawless. It held a lock for 45 minutes straight. I then shut the phone off still skeptical restarted it a few times, got back in my car and drove home an hour from work, I intentionally didn’t drive the route to suggested to see how fast the phone would realize i was off course, everytime I “missed” a turn I looked at the phone and withing 5 seconds it was rerouting and choosing a new route. I once again Love My Captivate!

      Trust me, follow the simple instructions and do a GSM reset, you won’t be sorry.

      • Bman

        Nope, didnt help me… now I have to reorganize and re download everything… :/
        I didnt see much difference than factory reset, in fact it actually said “restoring to factory settings”

        I bought my captivate at launch, maybe the newer manufactured phones arnt as screwed up?


        Pls do not post dangerous information on the web; your instructions for ‘GPS’ reset above are a total factory reset, which, without warning!

        Now, I have to set up all the apps and settings all over again.

        Pls put appropriate warnings in your posting or remove it.

  • Brian

    This did NOT fix the GPS issues…sadly…

  • Oddly enough, I tried to check for the update, then it timed out talking to AT&T, and now it says I need to wait 24 hours to check again. Hmmm. I’m hoping this does improve GPS. Still waiting on froyo as well…

    • Just manually set your time ahead a day and give it another shot.

  • Locu

    I can confirm GPS issues are resolved. It takes about 30 seconds to get lock first time after cold boot. Thereafter it takes about 4 seconds. I’m very pleased!

    @ Scott – I understand if you change your clock 24 hrs ahead, you can bypass the 24 hour limitation.

    Be sure to disable root on phone before applying update. It won’t apply properly with a rooted phone.

    • I was rooted and it worked fine – but my GPS is still bad. Couldn’t hurt though, to be as close to factory standard as possible.

      • BD

        “Be sure to disable root on phone before applying update. It won’t apply properly with a rooted phone”

        “I was rooted and it worked fine – but my GPS is still bad.”

        Mr. Obvious says: “May the update didn’t apply properly because you applied it to your ROOTED phone and that’s why it didn’t fix it!”

  • dajo

    I’m losing respect for samsung. Why cant they fix this gps problem. Makes me think that it is hardware related and they are not telling us. I will definately be hesitant to buy another samsung product in the future. They suck…..

  • I didn’t need to change my clock, it eventually showed up and hour or so later. After applying the update it took a long time to boot (5-10 minutes?), then everything was back up again. I can say the GPS works MUCH better now. Before when using google maps or foursquare, it would just hang for a long time, then finally get a lock. Now it locks very quickly, and seems to remember your last location at first. Media scanning seems slightly better too, but the phone can still get fairly lagged.

    Also, pre-update I had rooted my phone, and it still works, even though I’ve seen reports saying otherwise. Afterwards, it’s still rooted and I can still install non-market apps.

    Only downside is no 2.2 yet, but I’m hoping they roll it out in a similar fashion (OTA update).

  • robert

    This didn’t fix my gps either. It did however remove the ability for me to use my phone as a usb modem…Thanks to AT&T and Samsung for taking my mobility away!

    Overall there is a lot I like about this phone, but it’s been a pretty big disappointment. I had to use my friends iPhone the other day to get directions as we were driving; really emphasized how this phone has been a big letdown.

  • Deezus

    This is a sad post…this is a MAJOR update as it fixes the 30fps cap….get it together guys…

  • Deezus

    oops wrong phone haha

  • Mac

    “Less than accurate 100% of the time…”

    Really??? How about, “Doesn’t f*cking work at all.” That describes the three in my house. One can see up to 11 satellites but will never lock. Another will lock one or maybe two satellites, sometimes, but not enough to actually be usable. The third works sometimes, and not at all other times.

    It is rather significantly worse than merely “less than accurate.” Pretty disappointing considering how well GPS worked on my G1. (And yes, I’m aware that other people have Galaxy S phones with GPS that functions perfectly; it isn’t a great consolation to those of us in the other camp, and pointing it out endlessly [as often happens in the forums] is useless.)

    • Mike

      Yesterday I complained about the GPS after the fix but today it seems to be doing a lot better. It still takes about 2 min to get the first fix of the day (that sounds weird), but after it gets an initial fix it seems to be able to lock on in 5 to 10 seconds after that.

      In the old days GPS units had to load an “almanac” in order to find satellites. If you did not use the GPS for a while or if you had moved a fair distance (couple of hundred miles) since the last time you used it, it would take a long time to re-load the “almanac”. I wonder if this is the same kind of thing.

      • Slipped it in

        The so-called almanac you’re referring to is actually called GPS Hotfix and yes GPS units and GPS enabled phones still have to download the data to this very day. Some GPS devices, like Garmin’s non live GPS units, download the “almanac” via the connection to the GPS satellites. This is why it takes several minutes after powering the device on to get a GPS lock. Other GPS devices download the data over the internet and get a GPS signal in less than 30 seconds.

  • captras

    Before the update, my gps actually worked. Now, after the update, it takes a long time to locate, and many times it is up to 1/4 mile off. What the hell is going on with Samsung!

  • Dave

    I wish att and samsung would get an update to me. I would love to a least have the chance to see if it would help. Oh, and btw, after the last 3 or 4 days of manually checking for updates my phone will no longer lets me set the clock foward. Even with “update automatically” unchecked it updates to the current date. Now it says I have to wait like 200 hours to recheck.

  • Joe

    The late September AT&T I897UCJH7 update for my Samsung Galaxy S Captivate did not fix my phone’s GPS problem. The lack of accuracy, and the inability to determine its location, makes the phone’s navigation and mapping functions almost useless.

    I was able to compare satellite reception, locking, and position tracking with a side-by-side test between my Captivate and an HTC Nexus One. The Nexus was able to consistently hold location while driving around town, with an accuracy down to 6 feet. The Captivate would freeze while I was in motion and wonder off when I was stopped. Often it would jump to several blocks away, in a different direction, with computed accuracy of only 64, 32, and in rare instances, 16 feet.

    My recommendation to every prospective buyer is do not purchase the Samsung Captivate or any of its other carrier siblings, unless a real fix is made.

  • angad

    not gonna lie.. as skeptical as i was about a simple gsm reset. i do seem to be gettin AND maintaining locks longer than i ever did. so kudos on this gem of a find.

  • jay

    This update perma-bricked my phone. I know i’m not alone either with this. would be nice to find a way to get my phone back on without having to send it in for service

  • Ed

    I have encountered the same issues everyone has mentioned. I heard that the problem is hardware related and if that is true then we all know the answer to the fix. Such an awesome phone, too bad they can’t get the GPS system functioning properly. I wonder how long it will take for AT&T /Samsung come up with a solution.