Google Sky Map Not Working? How to Fix The Problem

Check your sensors and location services

Google Sky Map is a hand-held augmented-reality planetarium that lets you see and identify stars, planets, constellations, and more with your Android device. Issues with Google Sky Map not working can appear in a number of ways.

  • The app won't install or launch
  • Google Sky Map is pointing in the wrong direction
  • The app isn't identifying any stars or constellations at all

While these issues can be frustrating, there is usually a very simple fix that will get Google Sky Map working properly again.

Google Sky Map requires an Android device with GPS, a compass, and accelerometer sensors. To check if your Android device is compatible, visit Sky Map on Google Play from your device. If compatible, you will see the message, "This app is available for your device." Note: Google Sky Maps is now called Sky Maps and is not maintained by Google itself.

Cause of Google Sky Map Not Working

Google Sky Map was created in 2007 but received many updates since then. However, since there are so many varieties of Android devices, there are a lot of things issues to cause it to not work properly.

  • One of the required sensors malfunctioning
  • The compass not calibrated properly
  • An outdated Google Sky Map app
  • Phone location not updating properly
  • Installed SD card causing installation conflicts

Once you can identify which issue is causing Google Sky Map to not work properly, the fix is typically fairly simple.

How to Fix Google Sky Map Not Working

The following troubleshooting guide will start with the most common issues, and work toward less frequent issues. Work through the list from top to bottom to resolve your Google Sky Map issue.

  1. Remove your SD card before installation. There is a known issue with Google Sky Map installation on older versions of Android (Android 2.2 and older). Unmount and remove your SD card before installing the Google Sky Map app. Once installed, you can re-insert and reinstall the SD card. You can also move the Google Sky Map app to the SD card after installation if you prefer.

  2. A common mistake users make is putting Google Sky Map in manual mode. Manual mode requires you to drag the screen manually with your finger to look at the entire sky. In Automatic mode, the display will line up with the area of the sky you're looking at. There is an icon on the right side of the screen to toggle between Manual and Automatic mode. If Google Sky Map is not moving, make sure Automatic mode is enabled.

  3. Re-calibrate your phone compass and GPS. This involves moving your phone in a figure-8 motion to trigger your sensors to automatically reset and more accurately align with the position you're actually holding your phone. There is also a Calibrate menu item in Google Sky Map settings that will walk you through this process.

    If you've calibrated your device but Google Sky Map still isn't working, make sure you aren't standing near any electrical devices or magnetic materials that could interfere with your phone's sensors. Also try turning off Magnetic Correction in your Android settings, as this will often make your compass and GPS sensors more accurate.

  4. Turn on Location services on your Android. This will allow the Google Sky Map app to identify your accurate location using the phone's GPS sensors. Many people turn off Location services to save battery power, but the app won't work automatically without this enabled. You can find location services in your GPS settings for your Android.

  5. Enable Always Use GPS in Google Sky Map. You can find where to adjust this in the Google Sky Map settings menu. Unless this is enabled, Google Sky Map may try to use your Wi-Fi location rather than GPS location, which will be less accurate and could lead to issues with display alignment issues with the area of the sky you're pointing the phone at.

  6. Provide the Google Sky Map app with permission to access your phone's location. Normally this is enabled during installation, but if you accidentally skipped this step or refused to provide permission, the Google Sky Map app won't identify your location automatically. Google also provides instructions on how to provide Google Sky Map with location permissions.

  7. Calibrate your Android's touchscreen. If the app is behaving erratically, or the screen seems jittery, your Android touchscreen may need to be properly calibrated. If your touch screen isn't working for any app, you could have a more serious issue. Troubleshoot and fix any broken touch screen before attempting to launch Google Sky Map.

FAQ
  • How do I find the Milky Way with Google Sky Map?

    The easiest way to find the Milky Way with Google Sky map is to go to Google's Sky Map website, type Milky Way in the search box, and click Search. If you want to find a certain position on the Sky Map, you can enter coordinates into the search box.

  • What happened to Google Sky Map?

    Google created the Google Sky Map app in 2009 and used Android functionality to show different celestial bodies in the sky. In 2012, Google donated Google Sky Map to the community and released it under the Apache 2.0 open-source license. You can still find the Sky Map app (without the Google name) on the Google Play Store and visit Google's Sky Map website at www.google.com/sky.

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