Suffering from a slow N95 GPS ?

Having taken delivery of my new Nokia N95 this week, as much as I love all of the rest of the phone the performance of the GPS and in particular it’s speed to obtain it’s first fix was driving me mad – to the extent I went back to the vodafone store to talk to their experts – you can tell I was desperate.

n95 gpsThe store guy looked at the sky, no doubt hoping to blame some clouds, but disappointingly for him there were none, talk to Nokia he suggested we don’t deal with the satellite stuff.

Now I got thinking, the maps application has a network settings option to specify a network connection, I assumed this was for just downloading maps. Now the phone would sit for up to 30mins trying to obtain a signal from a collection of satellites that did not appear to be there, what if the phone was actually trying to use the network to update ephemeris data? some form of assisted GPS provided by Nokia ?

My default network setting was set to use the standard contract settings, in the past I have had problems with these with other applications, so I updated them using the neat Nokia Settings tool – and all of a sudden I started to get a fix in less than a minute.

So the moral of my story at least is.. if your shinny new N95 GPS seems slow – change the default network settings – obvious !!

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

22 Replies to “Suffering from a slow N95 GPS ?”

  1. Ed,
    The phone looks awesome. From the web, it looks like Canada isn’t going to get this machine for a while yet. And even then, only one carrier (Rogers) may carry it (GSM enabled network, I believe) and it’ll be priced to high hell.

    What’s the price there?

    As a geospatial tech, I would love to play with this and listen to MP3, sync with my Office software, etc, etc, etc. It sucks to have to wait behind Asia & Europe for these things! 🙁

    At least the hockey playoffs are on!

  2. Hi Ed, glad to see you have a nice new N95.. i have an N80 (although no integrated GPS) and the N95 should be on its way. If you need some tips, apps, and other useful info to help get rolling with the device I suggest you consult – Rafe and Ewan (the writers) have some great tutorials and useful material. For some industry insight and developer resources etc… then check out my site at, I’m sure you’ll find some useful material. Finally, check out Nokia Research for some of their Beta apps and Steve Litchfield’s site for loads of freeware and tips. Best of luck and happy navigation with it!

  3. Carlos,

    This is an expensive phone.. from around £100 with a 18 month contract to £600 SIM free !! Still it will get cheaper – you are paying early adopter tax 🙂

  4. Hi Ed,

    You mention on that u changed the network settings from default to get quicker GPS signal. Can u please tell me where the setting option can be found and what did u set it to please?


  5. – In the UK we don’t have LBS (as far as I know) yet on any operator, so Assisted GPS is not possible.

    @Ed – Something I set instinctively in my E70’s Navigation (inside Tools on the E70) was the choice of what to use for the location information. The default is to use the mobile network and GPS together, I unticked the network knowing there wasn’t much use in it trying. If you had left it on and the network connection settings were wrong, that could lead to the long wait, probably meaning that it’s trying the network and it’s timing out.

    I’m not an expert at the GPS tools built into the phones, but that’s just what I’m suspecting.

  6. Hi Ed, can you be a bit more specific than “change the default settings” please, it really isn’t obvious what you’ve done to improve your gps connection times.


  7. Dave/steve,

    OK let me try this from memory as I don’t have the phone in front of me… You need to go to the nokia website and obtain a set of new default network data profiles, after providing your phone number on the site these will be delivered as a couple of SMS messages. You will now have three additional profiles, called VFsomething.

    In the Maps application you need to change the network settings option from the default vodafone profile to the new VFweb ?? one.

    Hope this is clearer ?

  8. Dave/steve

    The page Ed’s mentioned that you would need to go to is:
    This is the ‘wizard’ for getting settings sent to you. There is also a ‘Settings Wizard’ in ‘Tools’ on most phones which is supposed to do the same thing, but the website method is probably better.

    I would also suggest going into ‘Tools|Position’ and disabling ‘Network based’. This might have some influence on the speed too, it did on my E70.

  9. Gents, Am I to understand that the N95 will work as a stand alone GPS rcvr? That is, if I have an unlocked GSM, use a sim card ( from any source – country) then it will act as a normal GPS and not have a need for a server? I ask, as I am in and out of many countries and use (in the US) T-mobile, but buy top off cards, then when in Singapore buy a local sin card and top off cards. Would the N95 GPS work??

  10. All

    This is the way it works

    Network looks at the cells around you and tells the N95 what sats to look for. in V12 of the firmware there is a new tool called A-GPS that transmits this cell information to a server for much faster positioning. With V12 in the UK I can get a lock indoors in less than 15 seconds.

  11. Steve,

    I have the V12 firmware.. did not make a massive difference to me, and indoors ? I’m amazed – what network are you on btw ?

  12. Hi
    Great post, thanks for writing this. I noticed that when I use Sports Tracker, even if there is a satellite connection, the photos do not get tagged with geo information. They only get tagged when I am using the Nokia GPS application. Has anyone else seen this?
    Thank you

  13. The new firmware does have the AGPS if you set it to allow network connections but then you have no control over when it connects to the network and how much data it transfers if it needs more for maps it will download it as you have allowed network connections, for most of us in the U.K who do not have unlimited data access watch your bills rise & rise & rise, plus if you buy navigation and you reset your phone or it has to be sent off you have to buy it again as for some reason Nokia for all the technology they have got cannot track registrations to phones (or so many forums say) I’ve gone for Copilot but may still have to buy an external GPS which defeats the point!!! (still the N95 gives my mates a laugh, its a great phone but the GPS is rubbish)

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