Troubleshooting Guide for iWalk Cornwall Android app

Android Troubleshooting Guide


    Buying walks

    Normal behaviour: walks are sold as in-app purchases so on pressing "buy walk", Android pops up a box for Google to take a payment and the purchase is stored in your Google account. The app is then notified of the purchase and should download the walk (progress bar) which should then appear in "My Walks" in the app.

    Trouble making a purchase

    If you want to disable Android's requirement for a password when paying, see here.

    If you're having problems with purchasing a walk (e.g. the device is failing to connect to Google's servers), the following have been to found to resolve most issues:

    The first thing to quickly eliminate is that in-app purchases are not disabled via Android parental controls.

    A reliable way rule out any issues with the wifi connection (e.g. router blocking Google's servers or invisibly redirecting the request to a login page) is to briefly disable wifi and test it using mobile data.

    Next thing is to eliminate is any form of corruption or malfunction on the device:

    • Do an uninstall/reinstall of the iWalk Cornwall app just in case the app didn't install cleanly (can cause all sorts of weird behaviour).
    • It's also worth doing a phone restart in case Android has got itself confused.

    It that doesn't sort it then it's most likely some kind of problem with the Google's purchasing system in Android which is what the app defers to for buying walks:

    • Clear the caches of both the Google Play services and Google Play Store components of Android, check these are up-to-date and if not update them.
    • Check the date and time are correct on the device (as Android uses timestamps to cache responses from Google servers)
    • It's worth checking if the payment card has expired. The Android payments troubleshooting guide may be helpful for ensuring a valid payment method has been set up.
    • Finally, if none of that revives your Android purchasing system, Google support should be able to help sort out any problem with your Google account and payment setup, or help if Android itself is misbehaving.

    Update and clear caches of Google Play

    To update and clear the caches of the Google Play apps using for purchasing walks on Android, do the following:

    Play Services
    • Go to Android Settings > Applications > Google Play services
    • See if an update is available - if so install
    • In Storage section, delete the Cache and also the Data

    Play Store
    • Go to Android Settings > Applications > Google Play Store
    • See if an update is available - if so install
    • In Storage section, delete the Cache and also the Data
    • Also if Google Play Store is currently running (check in task manager), kill it by swiping it off the list (so the running copy isn't holding onto stale data)
    • Close and re-open the iWalk Cornwall app then open a walk in the Walks Shop to let it try to request purchase details again

    Not sure if purchase went through

    You can confirm the purchase was successful and was stored in your Google account using the guide here.

    Purchase went through but walk didn't download

    A quick thing to try first is:

    • Press the "Check for walk updates" button on the "More options" of menu the app

    This will contact Google for the latest list of purchases and then download any walks in the Google account that are not already on the device.

    Next check your Google order history to see if the purchase is "pending" (this means Google is waiting on the payment provider). There's an option to cancel a pending payment on the Google orders screen if you want to try purchasing it again to see if it goes through immediately. Note that Google will never charge you twice for the same walk (even if you manage to do something to create 2 transactions initially, they will automatically refund one).

    If the purchase has completed but the walk still doesn't download (i.e. the information about the purchase hasn't reached the app) then the following has fixed nearly all "stuck" purchase issues reported to date:

    • Restart the device - this clears in-memory caches
    • Delete the app cache (via the app settings page in the Settings app) - this removes cache data backed-up to the cloud
    • Also delete the Cache and Data for Google Play and Google Play Services (these are part of Android's purchasing system).
    • Uninstall the iWalk Cornwall app - this clears its caches from the phone storage
    • Reinstall the app and re-run it - this should now be from a completely clean slate
    • Wait a minute or so to give the app a chance to sync up with Google
    • Press "Restore Purchases" on the home screen of the app if the walks don't automatically download

    If you're still having problems after this please contact us via the app (More Options > Contact Us), providing the diagnostic info when prompted and describing clearly what you've already tried and we'll help you troubleshoot further.

    Purchased walks are not synchronising between my devices when I press "restore purchases"

    You need to be signed into Android on both devices with the same Google account. Also note when there multiple accounts on a device, the PRIMARY Google account (normally the first one added) is the one that Android uses for Google Play to store and fetch your walks.

    • Double-check that the primary Google account is the same on both devices using About Phone in the Android Settings app. Google Account is displayed there.

    If you definitely are signed in to Android as the same user on both devices then try the following on the device that the walks are not appearing on:

    • Uninstall the app (this will clear the operating system caches)
    • Reinstall the app
    • Press "Restore Purchases" on the app home screen

    Walk progress isn't being tracked

    • At the risk of stating the obvious, the walk needs to be followed in the direction written (not backwards). The app only works in one direction because the directions are detailed hand-written descriptions like in a walking book which are nonsense when read backwards (simplistic computer-generated instructions used in road satnavs don't work in the countryside).
    • Check the walk has started (the Summary screen should say "Walk progress" below the title). Normally the walk starts automatically when you reach the start location but:
      • if you don't visit the start point, tracking won't begin until you reach another direction point and say "yes" when it offers to start from there.
      • if the walk was previously marked as completed, it will need to be reset first (this is so your walk stats don't get wiped when you pass a walk you've done before)
      If the Summary screen doesn't say "Walk progress":
      • if it says "Walk completed", press the "Reset walk" button
      • if it says "Parking" below a title and description, the walk hasn't started yet so scroll down to "Begin walk" (just above the green box) and press that.
    • Check the app is being delivered GPS positions by checking if your position (yellow arrow) is shown on the map screen. If not see the GPS troubleshooting tips.
    • In the app's settings (More, Options, Settings) check that "GPS tracking" and "Background GPS tracking" are both enabled.
    • In the phone's settings, check the app has been granted location permissions of "Always" (Apple) or "Allow all the time" (Android) (this is needed because "When is use" / "while using the app" actually means "turn off GPS when the screen is off" which is no use for tracking a walk).

    GPS and compass

    There's a red "NO GPS" sign at the top of the page

    This will be displayed if your GPS receiver is turned off or the app can't access it for some reason. While this message is displayed, don't attempt to start the walk as the app cannot track your location to know that you've started.

    If you've forgotten to turn your GPS receiver on, simply exit/switch out of the app, turn it on and switch back again. The app will detect the change when you switch back to it and begin seeking a GPS location fix.

    If your device doesn't have a built-in GPS receiver, you'll need an external GPS receiver. These can be purchased on Amazon, for example, and can connect to your device via Bluetooth or USB. If you have an external GPS device and are seeing this sign, make sure the external receiver is switched on, your device has Bluetooth is switched on and that the external GPS receiver has been correctly "paired" with your device.

    There's an orange "SEEKING GPS" sign at the top of the page

    While this is displayed, the app cannot track your position to give you relevant direction information.

    It is displayed when the GPS receiver your device is using is activated but a GPS fix has yet to be acquired. In order to track your position, the receiver must locate a minimum of 3 GPS satellites. When the walk navigation is started, this can take anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes. You may also see this sign appear if your GPS receiver loses its location fix. This can occur when objects are obscuring the sky such as when you are under heavy tree cover or inside a building. The sign will disappear once a fix has been reacquired. If for some reason this sign doesn't disappear, try restarting your device.

    My GPS signal keeps dropping out

    Check in Android settings that battery saver is off and in Apps > iWalk Cornwall, check "Location" permission is "Allow all the time" and "Physical activity" permission is not denied.

    The Android GPS service could be malfunctioning so restart the device. This fixes most issues. Some people have also reported that opening the Google Maps application caused Android to sort itself out and start delivering GPS positions to other apps.

    If the issue persists after trying that, have a look at this guide for troubleshooting Android GPS issues (because GPS positions are provided to apps by Android itself, exactly the same things apply).

    My compass direction seems wrong

    The compass in your Android device uses a magnetic sensor to detect magnetic north. The phone has to be upright (not sideways or "on the wonk") for this to give the correct direction.

    Sometimes the sensor can fall out of calibration with the Earth's magnetic field and then it gives a wrong reading. To re-calibrate your compass, simply move your phone around in the air in a 3 dimensional figure of 8. It may look a bit loopy in more ways than one but it allows the phone to measure the Earth's magnetic field strength at different points in the field - after a few loops, your compass should automatically re-calibrate.


    My photo wasn't saved to my image gallery after I used the Camera button

    When you press the Camera button inside the app, a built-in function within Android takes over to provide an in-app camera. After using this to take a photo, you are then presented with a preview of the photo. You need to press the "OK" (or "tick" - depending on the Android version) button to save the photo. Pressing any other button (or the hardware back button) will not save your photo. We're not quite sure what Google's rationale was for making their in-app camera behave differently from the standalone Android camera app.

    The location that the image gets saved to on the phone is controlled by Android and depends on the flavour/version of Android. On Google Pixel phones, it goes into a top-level folder called "Pictures" (whereas the Android camera app saves into the "DCIM" folder). If the photos are not automatically showing up on the Photos tab in Google Photos, go to Library > Photos on this device > View all. Find the folder they are being saved in then select and and turn on the Backup and sync switch to backup the folder.

    App not beeping for some directions

    Extending the screen dim time in Android will cause this. Setting it back to the default (or "immediate") will fix it. Here's an explanation of why and how:

    The app sends an Android system notification in order to make a beep for each direction. Due to a weird quirk (bug?) in Android's screen dimming behaviour, no sound is made by the phone if the app on the dimmed screen sends a notification (it beeps fine whilst another app is on the dimmed screen instead or if the phone is on the home screen when dimmed). Android doesn't tell the app if the screen is dimmed or not so the app doesn't have a way of knowing if Android is being silent or not.

    The default setting in Android is for the lock screen to be enabled 5 seconds after the screen dims (and Android beeps just fine on the lock screen too) so normally there's only a 5 second "no beep" window which during real world walk usage won't coincide with a new direction (because directions are a lot more than 5 seconds apart even if you are a very fast walker!).

    However, if you've changed your Android settings to increase the time between the screen dimming and the lock screen appearing to more than 5 seconds, this will cause Android to not make any sounds during this period if the app is on the dimmed screen. You can set the time back to the default (or even better to "immediate") for your walk by going to Android Settings, Security and tapping the cog next to "screen lock" (NB not "screen lock" itself). Then tap on "lock after screen timeout" to adjust the value.

    Note unlike the screen dimming, "smart lock" (which allows you to return from the lock screen without re-entering your PIN) doesn't mess up Android's beeping. So if you have any bluetooth device you pair to your phone (smartwatch, earbuds etc), setting up smart lock is a better way to unlock the device easily than altering the screen dim time.

    Walks not downloading on Android 8+

    Check the Google Chrome app is up-to-date as part of it is used by the app and old Chrome versions have permissions issues.

    Phone is Android 7 or below

    Android 7 and below are too out-of-date to support some of the (3rd party) software libraries that the app needs (even though our own code is backwardly-compatible). If you're attached to your trusty old phone as your main phone, the iWalk Cornwall app doesn't need a SIM card so it's possible to use a secondary hand-me-down Android 8+ phone (signed into Android with the same Google Account, with a USB powerbank to compensate for degraded battery if necessary) for running walks by downloading these over wifi.

    The app closed without warning

    So long as the iWalk app is selected as the current app (in the "foreground") during a walk, the app will keep running and track your progress, even if the screen is switched off. However, if you switch to use another app during a walk while the iWalk app is running (putting it in the "background"), Android may decide to close the iWalk app to save system resources. If this happens, the iWalk app will no longer be able to track your route progress, so you won't get alerted when you reach a direction point or go off-route.

    The most likely cause is your phone running low on RAM (volatile memory - different from phone storage). Running apps or Android itself can "leak" RAM memory (not return it properly to Android when finished with it) which causes Android to think it's still in use and there is not much free. Restarting the phone should fix this.

    When you reopen the iWalk app, it will automatically resume your current walk and start route tracking again. If you have passed a number of direction points before noticing the app wasn't tracking your progress, the app may not be up-to-date with your current progression through the walk. To remedy this, on the directions screen you can tap on the direction marker before your position shown on the map and select "Start from here" for the relevant direction, to tell the app where to resume the walk from.

    An issue not described here

    The following steps have been found to fix 99% of device issues:

    • Restart the device (clears in-memory caches and reboots phone operating system)
    • Uninstall the app (clears caches in phone storage)
    • Reinstall the app (ensures the app installed properly e.g. if the phone operating system was malfunctioning before)
    • Press "Restore Purchases" on the home screen of the app (re-downloads a fresh copy of all walks)

    If an issue still persists after this then contact us and we'll help you to troubleshoot further.

    Also, if you have a question rather an actual problem, check out the FAQ.