A smart phone is a perfectly good GPS device, but there's still a case to be made for owning a stand-alone GPS from TomTom or one of the other manufacturers. Your phone stays free for other uses, for one thing, and you don't have to worry about how much data you're using. Modern GPS units can also act as a hub for your other in-car electronics, such as dash cams or backup cameras.
Like any other electronic device, a TomTom may occasionally misbehave, but a simple reset usually fixes the problem.
TomTom Common Faults
Touch-screen GPS devices, or "SatNav" as they're known on the other side of the Atlantic, are pretty reliable on the whole. When a problem occurs, it is usually relatively minor. You might find that your TomTom can't find satellites, even though it normally can when you're using it in the same location. It might suddenly freeze in the middle of regular operation, refusing to accept any touch inputs. You might also find your TomTom frozen on the startup screen.
In each of these cases, a routine reset only takes about a minute and usually fixes the problem.
Reset a Current TomTom Model
For most current and recent models of TomTom navigation devices, which receive updates through MyDrive Connect, a basic reset is a simple operation. First, make sure your device has at least a two-hour charge on the battery.
After that, hold down the on/off button until the TomTom begins to restart. This takes 30 seconds or more because otherwise there is a risk of resetting your device accidentally when you only want to turn it on or off. You know when the reset starts because the TomTom plays its signature drum sounds.
This basic TomTom frozen-screen fix doesn't delete any of your settings, saved trips, places of interest or other user data. The only thing that's lost is your time zone setting, and the TomTom prompts you to reenter that.
Resetting an Older TomTom Device
For older TomTom devices that receive their updates through TomTom HOME, the process is only slightly more involved. Once again, be sure your TomTom has at least a two-hour charge on its battery before you start, so it has enough power to complete the reset successfully.
Start by removing the SD card if you have one installed. On the underside of the unit, near the SD card slot, is a recessed reset button. Hold it down with a toothpick, a straightened-out paperclip or some other similar object for at least 20 seconds. Next, hold down the power button until the TomTom restarts. At this point, the unit resets, and you can replace the SD card and use it normally.
Resetting an In-Dash TomTom Device
Aside from its aftermarket GPS products, TomTom has a thriving business supplying in-dash navigation systems for various car manufacturers including Mazda, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot. How you reset the TomTom device in your car varies between devices.
For models mounted permanently in the dash, such as the NB1 navigation system used in some Mazda vehicles, start by switching off the car's ignition and removing the memory card. Next, reinsert the memory card, wait 30 seconds and start up your car again.
Resetting an On-Dash TomTom Device
Some TomTom automotive models perch on the dash, instead of being built-in completely, and they can be detached. They're essentially stand-alone devices with a permanent mount that's built into the vehicle. They're reset in the same way as regular TomTom units, depending on which version of the company's software they use.
Newer models, such as the Uconnect 5" device included with some Jeeps and Fiats, receive their updates through MyDrive Connect, and the reset process is the same as for current stand-alone GPS units. Hold down the power button until you hear the drums, and the unit resets.
Earlier models, such as the TNS 400 used in some Toyotas, receive their updates through TomTom HOME and use the recessed reset button.