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Original topic:

A54 5G hangs, shuts down, restarts on GPS / Location use

(Topic created on: 23-11-2023 06:01 PM)
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Tom SL
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Brand new A54 5G (A546U, UI 5.1,  Android 13, Nov 1 2023 updated) doesn't handle GPS connection problems gracefully. When I enter my local grocery store my phone locks up and restarts as soon as an app tries to get location info.  The touch screen would also go unresponsive and I'd have to force a restart. I had originally thought this was a hardware issue and exchanged my phone my replacement only to find the NEW phone acts the same way. FINALLY found that turning off location stopped the lock ups and restarts. As a temporary workaround I set all apps to only use location "In the app" or not at all. This is not an acceptable fix, of course. With that setting if I try to run an app that gets location the phone locks up and hangs immediately. Once I leave that store, NO PROBLEMS. I don't care what signal issues the store may introduce - it shouldn't lock up and reset.  P.S. no difference with WIFI OFF, NFC OFF, 2G OFF, 5G OFF, etc. After a lot of experimentation it appears ONLY LOCATION setting and use has an effect.

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Tom SL
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12/6/23: Returned the phone a few days ago while I could still get a refund. Got a refurbished S22 5G US Verion (S901U1) as a replacement for $40 U.S. more that I paid for new A54 at Black Friday sale price. After testing - Unlike the two brand new A54 (A546U) I tried, the S22 has no lockups or hangs regardless of WiFi or Location settings in the same environment, with same apps, same configurations, same Android and One UI versions (13, 5.1), November update, as were used with A54. The S22 functions as it should.

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Tom SL
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Update: Even with 'only in app' set for apps hang / restart happened within a few seconds after entering the store with location enabled. According to the Location Services log, none of the apps had requested location (but that info may not be reliable due to the lockup/hang/auto restart). Phone works fine in the store once location has been disabled, though restarting is tricky since I have only a few seconds to get in and turn off Location after force restart or it will lock up again. Only test left that I can configure is to disable all app use of location. I forgot to mention that I can turn on location with no problems as soon as I leave the store - probably because I have a GPS signal then. It's a shame because otherwise I REALLY LIKE the phone.

Badger42
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I would suggest you contact Samsung support through the members app and also check the phone diagnostics as it does sound like an issue with the phone. I use the A546B and the GPS is fantastic when using Google maps etc.
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Tom SL
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FWIW the A546U "US" version has some different radio band support than the A546B, dropped dual-sim,  reduced the memory, and added eSIM. So it's unclear what software and board differences that all adds up to, but it's for sure not the same as the international version. (I got the "U" because of Samsung warranty support and slightly better USA band support, but with exception of the band different overall the "U" is a hardware capability (cost?) reduced A54). The GPS itself works great when the phone doesn't hang. No problems when I go back outside the store. I doubt it's a GPS problem per se, but rather a software bug in the radio driver where it doesn't handle the loss or corruption of the GPS signal correctly. Apps normally should not be able to trigger a lockup and restart on Android, so I suspect it's an Android or lower level software bug. 

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Badger42
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It maybe when you get one UI 6 for your version if it is a bug, it might be sorted with the newer version of os.
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Tom SL
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I'm not likely to wait for that. I've got less than two weeks to return my phone to get a refund :smiling-face:

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Badger42
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I hope you get it sorted. I think the S23FE is only $100 more than the A54 in the states through the black Friday sales.
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Tom SL
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Update 11/30/23: Phone works in that store now with Location turned on? - or so I thought for a minute. It turns out that with apps set to handle location to "while in app only" things seemed ok, but then I noticed that WiFi was turned off and as soon as I turned WiFi on the phone locked up and reset itself. So back to issues with location - perhaps more related to how it handles 'precise' location that includes WiFi scanning. In any case, I'm tired of trying different combinations on settings of location to find one that works, since all 'workaround' configurations significantly limit the usefulness and convenience of the phone. (FYI: The problem occurs even after a full 'factory reset')

As written before, I don't think any external signal condition should cause lockups and restarts in a phone. I'm considering it a latent software bug or EMI susceptibility issue and perhaps even a Location denial-of-service susceptibility that could be exploited.

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Tom SL
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Final update 11/30/23: [Phone is being returned] Verified that phone locks up and hangs in building with unexpected GPS signals when Location is 'pinged' by ANY software (Samsung or 3rd party) IF WIFI IS ALSO ENABLED. Phone works ok if LOCATION IS OFF (but can't use WiFi), or WIFI IS OFF (but can't use location), but not when both are active.  Even with all apps set to "location only while in app" it hangs as soon as WiFi turned on. I suspect it's a low-level software bug that does an 'endless loop' or wait that exceeds the system watchdog timer when confronting unexpected signal combinations and causes a restart to fire, though in some cases it results in a lockup of the UI where the touch screen and normal power button go unresponsive and a "force restart" is needed to get the phone back.

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Solution
Tom SL
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12/6/23: Returned the phone a few days ago while I could still get a refund. Got a refurbished S22 5G US Verion (S901U1) as a replacement for $40 U.S. more that I paid for new A54 at Black Friday sale price. After testing - Unlike the two brand new A54 (A546U) I tried, the S22 has no lockups or hangs regardless of WiFi or Location settings in the same environment, with same apps, same configurations, same Android and One UI versions (13, 5.1), November update, as were used with A54. The S22 functions as it should.

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