How To Fix a Blank TomTom XL Screen

by Fred Decker
Sometimes your GPS screen remains blank, and the device must be reset.

Sometimes your GPS screen remains blank, and the device must be reset.

Like many other high-tech devices, portable GPS navigators are wonderful when they work properly but maddening when they don't. For example, you might find that your GPS only gives you a blank screen when you try to turn it on and use it. The causes are similar from brand to brand; usually a software conflict similar the kind that results in a computer crash is the culprit. The recovery process varies. For example, if you have one of the devices in TomTom's XL series, you need to reset the device and possibly reload its software using TomTom HOME.


TomTom's XL line of navigators has included a large number of models, so it's important first to find the correct procedure for your specific GPS unit. The company's website provides a page where you can look up the reset procedure by the model, if you know it, or by entering the first two digits of your device's serial number. The serial number is usually located on the underside of the device. You'll need a good charge on the unit's battery before you begin, so plug it in for at least two hours. If the charge light doesn't come on, that indicates your charger or charging circuit has failed.

Performing the Reset

Assuming your charger still works and the GPS is fully charged, you can go ahead and perform the reset. There are two possible procedures, depending which type of TomTom XL you own. On the ONE XL, XL classic and some other models, there's a recessed Reset button on the bottom of the unit. Press it with a pen, toothpick or straightened paper clip for at least 20 seconds; then release it and turn the unit back on. On the XL Live and other models without a physical reset button, hold down the "On/Off" button for 30 seconds or longer until you hear a drum roll and the unit restarts.

Removing the Software

Resetting your GPS often fixes your problem, but occasionally you'll also need to delete and reinstall your GPS management software. The XL and XXL series use TomTom's HOME software for this. After the reset, switch off your TomTom and connect it to the computer with your USB cable. Switch your GPS back on and start the HOME software. Click the "Manage My Device" icon in the software, followed by "Items on Device" and "Applications." Remove the TomTom application. Return to "Manage My Device" and do the same for your computer. Finally, click "Update My Device" and then "Update and Install."

Restoring the Software

When the installation process completes, click "Done." Your device will reboot and ask if you want to connect to the computer. Tap "No" and disconnect the GPS from your computer. Perform another reset following the same procedure as before and reconnect it to the computer. If "Update My Device" is not greyed out, click it again and repeat the process of installing the software, removing and resetting the GPS, and reconnecting it. Keep doing this until you've installed all available updates. When you're finished, your device should be working properly and completely updated. If not, contact TomTom's customer support for further assistance.

Photo Credits

  • Rayes/Photodisc/Getty Images