New Google Play Services causes location errors on some HTC phones

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Longtime Pocketables reader and commenter Fifth313ment recently wrote in to tell us about a problem he’s noticed with his phone ever since the Google Play Services system app was updated during Google I/O. The problem seems to be linked to Google’s new location APIs, and it’s affecting mainly HTC users.

As Fifth313ment (a.k.a. Brandon) describes it:

Something happened with HTC phones and the recent Google Now and Google Play Services updates. I personally believe it’s the Google Play Services Location API that is having an issue. This causes all network location services to stop functioning on the affected phone.

In Google Now, it will persistently tell you that Google location services are off and need to be turned on, even if everything is already on. GPS will work with only GPS on, but if GPS is off, location will not function – even if you’re on WiFi. Apps like Flixster, HTC Weather, and Google Now won’t be able to find your location and will report errors. Many of the affected users are using mostly HTC phones, and it seems to have started Friday or Saturday night for most. Many have tried cleaning caches, uninstalling apps, etc., but mine was only fixed with a hard reset.

Some quick searches will reveal discussion threads around the internet about this very issue, including at Android Central and even Google’s own product forums. A Google employee has chimed in to say that the issue is “still on our radar,” but as usual there’s no estimated time frame for an official fix.

Right now, the only solution seems to be a hard reset, but if you’re willing to live with the problem for a little while, Google might be able to roll out a fix. In the meantime, let us know: are you affected? If so, what’s your device, and what ROM are you running?

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

21 thoughts on “New Google Play Services causes location errors on some HTC phones

  • May 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm
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    Is this related to the problems with Navigation/Google Maps not working on the EVO 4G LTE with Android 4.1?

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    • May 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm
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      No, but I bet it was a similar bug that started that issue as well. I had the navigation issue on maps and then once I did the hard reset the other day I was able to use navigation without it crashing after a minute every time. So everything is fixed since the hard reset. But that is annoying and some users who did the hard reset had their location issues simply come back once Google Play Services updated again on the clean phone. Arg Google!

      5th

      Reply
  • May 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm
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    HTC E4GLTE. Been experiencing issues since Friday, huge battery drain. This is pretty ridiculous that this is even happening. I’d like to know if it’s Google who screwed up, or HTC who didn’t comply with something, but it’s unacceptable.

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    • May 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm
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      Yeah same here, b4 the location issues happened I had a huge drain on my battery with Google Play services using 62%, then soon after I lost Network location service. Google finally admitted on the Google groups site that it was them and they are working on a fix. It mainly happened on HTC phones (although some reported LG too) because of the way HTC Sense deals with the location API. Google simply pushed out the new Google Play Services, never testing it, and it crashed and burned on many HTC phones. I bet many others have the issue but haven’t noticed it yet as GPS location still functions without issue. Only network (3G/Wifi) location is affected.

      I would guess it will take Google a week or two to figure this out. They will first have to get a phone with the issue and then do some tests once they do fix it. Basically everything they should have done in the first place that they skipped. All these websites have been talking about Google separating Android from itself and speeding up the update process but this is exactly why the carriers and companies take so long. They want to make sure an update won’t crash your phone or cause serious issues like this. Google simply dropped the ball big-time here. It’s this kind of stuff that drives novice users to Apple.

      5th

      Reply
    • May 21, 2013 at 10:13 am
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      yup, I asked around about that drain and a lot of people told me they were not experiencing that. It was Google Plus – updated G+ and it seems to have gotten back to normal.

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      • May 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm
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        Yeah, I would advise users not to hard reset as too many people are having the issue reappear once Google Play services silently updates after a while. I haven’t had the issue yet (crosses fingers) and I already have the newest Google Play Services and all other Google apps so hopefully I won’t experience it again (hopefully, lol). Google knows about the issue and is hopefully working on a fix. It’s just really annoying to know what they were trying to do (separate Android form itself so they can update the OS faster) completely backfired and had the exact opposite effect.

        5th

        Reply
  • May 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm
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    HTC EVO 4G LTE. I’ve been having problems since Friday as well. I thought it to just be a glitch but after reading this I see I’m not the only one. I’m in Louisville, KY with sprint service. No 4G here

    Reply
  • May 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm
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    HTC One X, problem also started on Friday, super frustrating.

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  • May 21, 2013 at 7:47 am
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    I’ve noticed that my EVO 3D sometimes “loses” where my location is for the HTC weather widget. No matter what location services I have on (GPS, Wi-Fi, Network, or all at once), it just can’t figure out where I am anymore. This was happening prior to the Google Play services update though, too. Funny thing is, everything else that uses location services works fine.

    If I reboot my phone, it works again. Might just be an HTC software glitch in my case. Fused location was actually already in (at least, maybe ICS too) Jelly Bean because I saw the files for it. That’s why I thought it was weird that they made such a big deal out of it at Google I/O.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm
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    I’m having a problem with Google Music, it just won’t work after the update. I have a Samsung Galaxy III S, running 4.1.2. I had to uninstall the updates to get it working.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm
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    Friend of mine has this issue on stock Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I have the same phone on CM and no problem.

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    • May 22, 2013 at 6:39 am
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      My friend told me yesterday, that the problem is already gone on his phone.

      Reply
  • May 22, 2013 at 1:55 am
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    I was having this issue but I did a factory reset and it solved everything… hope this helps… damn you HTC :)

    Reply
  • May 22, 2013 at 7:19 am
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    I am using Htc Desire X running Android 4.1.1.
    I have this issue on my phone. ı do the hard reset but never worked.

    Reply
    • May 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm
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      Sorry bro you should have read my post above first. It comes back for many people. Luckily I haven’t had it come back yet. Good luck.

      5th

      Reply
  • May 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm
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    HTC One, it literally just happened to me and I’m reallllllly not trying to factory reset it lol

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  • June 17, 2013 at 4:00 am
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    I have the HTC Desire X with Android 4.1.1 and the location services has never worked for me. I have never been able to use Google maps (SUPER frustrating!) and it does not detect my location for weather. I bought this phone on May 31st. 3G is working though. Factory reset does nothing. Shouldn’t this problem be solved by Google by now?!

    Reply
  • July 16, 2013 at 12:23 am
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    Same issue here. Have my Huawei G615 on Jelly Bean 4.1.2. Only can get locations via GPS, or in some Google apps if GPS is off.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2013 at 6:11 am
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    This has been happening to me for a week now. Google maps always picks up location correctly, but no other apps pick up this information. If GPS is on then other apps will pick up the location, but when I switch GPS off (or go indoors) some apps don’t pick up location again, and some revert to the previously identified location. Factory reset and update Play Store to 4.1.10 as suggested doesn’t fix it.
    Am on Android 4.1.1, HTC Desire X.

    Reply
  • August 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm
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    HTC EVO 4g LTE here.
    For a week or more, I’ve been unable to get weather regularly. Location has always been slow to update (bought in March).

    Recently, I cannot get online at all, certain apps will usually NOT work (Words w/ Friends, 4 pics, etc). Getting really tired of this.

    Would this all be related to Google Play, as well?

    Reply
  • August 28, 2013 at 2:50 am
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    Casio CAL21 G’z One 4G LTE
    (with Japan-based service carrier)

    Same issue as others, no solution seems to work. Location services seemed to stop working suddenly a week ago; GPS only way to update anything (and that works only rarely now). Once in a while network will suddenly work and then revert to useless again.

    I use my phone extensively in the outdoors (trail maps, weather, tide charts, etc.) so being told to turn on wi-fi because both the network and GPS refuse to work in the middle of a forest feels a little ridiculous. Hoping they actually do something about this…

    Reply

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