Xiaomi Mi A1 GPS Problem

My mobile phone, the Xiaomi Mi A1, is no longer one of the current models, but it works great and still receives the latest security updates. Well, a few months ago the GPS was a bit weak. It got worse and worse and then stopped working completely. After a short time (and some panic) it worked again. A few months later it started again, while jogging in the forest it got worse and worse, then it stopped working again.

The first time the search on the Internet did not yield anything, now the forums are full of this problem. Anyway, you are not alone, comforting enough, but I still haven’t found a solution. The answers are rich but all very confused.

The symptom doesn’t look like a software problem, nor does it look like a hard circuit or wire defect. The error is not sudden enough. Therefore from the beginning I suspected a plug or contact problem. In a forum I read that someone changed the battery and since then his GPS has been working again.

So I opened the phone. You need a suitable Micro-Torx for the screws next to the USB socket and a plastic lever to push the two shells of the case apart. I didn’t have one and used an old German Bahncard. It has Credit card size but is softer and tougher than a credit card and worked quite well. On YouTube there are a number of videos showing the disassembly, just search for “Mi A1 battery change” or “Mi A1 disassembly”.

But after disassembling you won’t see anything that points to a GPS module or antenna. A closer inspection shows that the antennas are obviously glued to the back of the disassembled cover and are contacted by small spring contacts on silver contact surfaces. You can also clearly see the impressions of the contact springs on the contact surfaces. This seems to be the problem. The silver contact surfaces on the inside of the lid corrode over time or (less likely) the springs rub the contact surfaces away. Also realistic: Over time, the springs press themselves into the contact foil, so that the foil is pushed away and the spring tension is no longer sufficient for contact. In any case, the indentations are clearly visible. Whatever the cause: GPS doesn’t work anymore because of the contact problems between body and lid.

A1 with cover removed: The contact surfaces are clearly visible in the cover.

Detail: Left are the contact springs, right the corresponding contact surfaces in the cover.

I cleaned the contacts with a fiberglass brush (both sides, springs and contact surfaces), tighten a bit the springs and reassembled the phone.

And the GPS works again. The whole action took 10 minutes and the most difficult part was the pushing apart of the two halves of the case with the Bahncard. Let’s see how long that lasts.

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8 Responses to Xiaomi Mi A1 GPS Problem

  1. Rolando says:

    Many thanks for the detailed guide, it was very useful. Do you know by chance the specs of the contact springs? I need to replace all of them and I’m not able to find any info although I’ve googled quite a lot.

  2. ddms961 says:

    Da ich keinen Micro-Torx habe, bin ich zu 2 Handy-Reparateuren gegangen. Beide behaupteten, das GPS-Modul wäre kaputt. Den zweiten konnte ich aber überzeugen, das Handy doch mal zu öffnen und die Kontakte zu säubern. Er hat sich über seinen Erfolg auch gefreut.

  3. Heinrich says:

    Das Problem hatte ich auch. Ich benutze eine Fahrradhalterung von Tschibo. Man zieht von hinten ein strammes Haltegummi über alle vier Ecken des Handys. Kurz danach meldet es: GPS- Signal verloren. Scheinbar verformt das Haltegummi die Rückwand des Handys MI A1.

  4. Petar says:

    Thank you!
    I followed your steps and now GPS is working!
    I wish you all the best!

  5. Raponi Alessandro says:

    Tank you very much, the only online guide with the right solution!

  6. Ralf says:

    Super TIP,
    vielen Dank

    ich sollte schon ein neues Handy kaufen;-)
    war ruck zuck erledigt und läuft wie neu

  7. Mark Neugebauer says:

    Großartige Anleitung. GPS ist wieder voll funktionstüchtig. Glasfaserradierer hatte ich nicht zur Hand. Ganz feines Schleifpapier in der Pinzette hat auch funktioniert. Sicher etwas abrasiver als Glasfaser und nicht optimal … aber geht. Danke!

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