Some users complaining of inaccurate iPhone 5s sensors

By , Oct 3, 2013

bad level

Heads up iPhone 5s owners: have you noticed that your Compass app readings are a little bit off? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It seems a number of users are complaining of inaccurate sensors on Apple’s latest handset.

More specifically, users have noticed that both their compass and inclinometers on their 5s devices are consistently off by a noticeable margin. The latter appears to be incorrect by 2 degrees, while the former is off by 8-10…

Gizmodo reports:

“Since the iPhone 5S landed in the hands of new owners a few weeks ago, there have been reports that on-board sensors like the gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer haven’t been working properly on some devices. We’ve confirmed the new iPhone’s failings on our own. It’s not just off. It’s embarrassing. 

We tested two iPhone 5S units running the latest version of iOS 7 against the iPhone 5, as well as against real-world measuring tools to find out if the new iPhone’s sensors are off, and if they are, by how much. In most cases, we used the iPhone’s built-in iOS 7 apps for measurements, working under the assumption that Apple would properly calibrate its hardware to work with the software of its own design. We were wrong.”

MacRumors adds to the narrative, noting that a twenty-page thread has popped up on its forums full of similar reports claiming that the compass and level are off. And there are also several threads on Apple’s Support website.

So what next? Well, that depends on if this is a hardware or software issue. If it’s a software issue, then Apple could simply fix things with a future firmware release. But if it’s hardware, that would be significantly harder to correct.

Either way it’s a problem—and one that doesn’t just affect folks looking to hang a picture or shelf. Think about all of the different apps and games there are that use the iPhone’s accelerometer and some of its other sensors.

Have you noticed any issues with the sensors on your iPhone 5s?

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  • illK†Δ

    Apple done goofed the gyroscope! I can put my iPhone 5s on its side and play a racing game, the car will steer to the right.

    • M R

      Mine is working fine.

    • Yujin

      Your table is crooked

      • illK†Δ

        The level I have says 0°, my iPhone 4S says 0° 5s says 3°

  • M R

    LOL, no-one would even know that these kind of problems actually exist if not for fagdroids.

    • @dongiuj

      Hahaha! You said “fagdroids”! That’s reeeaaally funny. Gosh, wish I could think of something that funny. Are you naturally gifted like that? Do you have your own comedy show or something?

      • M R

        Naturally came to me when I am around dumb-asses 😉

      • Dan

        0.o

  • will

    Hey guys at iDB with iPhones 5s do you have this problem ( I don’t have one ) but I might getting one soon

    • I don’t have this problem

      • hkgsulphate

        so its all about luck? 🙁

      • John714

        you know you have this problem.

        Never get the first batches of iphones! There is always defects. Lesson learned iphone 4!

  • Dillon Kirton

    Reminds me of the compass on my android phone, you face north, the dial faces north, you face south, the dial faces west. Makes no sense.

    I’m sure, with a software update, Apple will be able to re-calibrate the software to work with failing hardware.

    • PaeseSono

      I think it might need to re-calibrate on a flat surface just like the android devices. Im not sure if they can fix it with a simple software update hmm..

  • nmpraveen

    I have i4 and 5S.. Placed both on a flat surface and tilted the surface.. Both had same values.. But compass… well, both were way off!!

  • BumpyFlatline

    With my new 5s, I have the exact same problem as noted in this article. Hopefully it’s just a bug in iOS and an easy fix!

  • Chliii

    5s on 7.02 and I have that problem too

  • Nate McKelvie

    I noticed you wrote “The latter appears to be incorrect by 2 degrees, while the former is off by 8-10…” are the phones all giving different incorrect values or are they all off by the same amount. Mine appears to be off by 2.2 degrees, but if everyone is off by the same amount then it seems like it could be an easy fix through software

  • mrgerbik

    ‘lotta bugs this round…. seems to be the trend lately

  • Lance Baker

    I don’t think I’m having that issue with my phone.

  • NEWYORKMINUTE10

    Apple always having issues

  • Steve

    sensor-gate. it’s real…

    • M R

      Hard life

    • xSeriouSx

      Hahaha, there’s always a gate in the first batch of Apple devices…should be fixed within the next month or 2; that’s what usually happens.

  • Clement Yeo

    Hopefully just some software issue

  • OhSixTJ

    The complainers will complain

    • xSeriouSx

      The reasonable will not ignoramusly follow any company’s behind, not even Apple’s.

    • bw00ds

      Reporting an actual malfunction is “complaining?”

      • OhSixTJ

        Using an iphone for its compass or level “feature” is stupid. So yes, complaining that it’s not accurate is complaining. If you need a compass or level, buy a real one. You don’t buy a toy gun to defend yourself do you?

      • bw00ds

        1) You and I may not use it as a compass, but some do and it is a feature in the phone so it should work, right?
        2) The level feature is not stupid. It has a use for which I have used and it beats dragging out my 4′ level bar to hang just a picture.
        3) It also reported problems with the gyro and accelerometer, so this also affects mapping, gaming and many other apps as well. Not a minor problem.
        4) Even if 1), 2), & 3) don’t matter, reporting a malfunction is still not complaining.
        5) Your analogy to a “toy gun” doesn’t quite fit, as the compass and leveling function worked before and the iPhone compass & leveler vs. “real” compass & level is much more equal in terms of fulfilling a real purpose in comparison to a toy gun vs. a real gun.

  • Angie Mac

    How will I ever live without the compass on my phone? Oh yeah, the same way I lived for years with no compass on my phone.

    • Guest

      You also live without maps on your phone too, right?

      • OhSixTJ

        Exactly.

      • Angie Mac

        I’m spending 4 months in China, so yes, no maps on my phone. At least, not live ones.

    • Chliii

      Spoken like a ignorant fool.

  • What about the old models? 4/4s and 5? Is it off too?

    • Jo

      i do not think so. nobody said they had issues with that.

  • Alex

    I can confirm this to be a software issue. Got my iphone 5s from apple this morning, read how there were gyroscope issues, tested but with correct results.

    However, after updating from ios 7.0.1 to ios 7.0.2, the compass (gyroscope) is no longer working properly. I am getting 60 degrees of in the compass and 10-12 in the level.

    Therefore this *should* be fixed in the next release of ios?

  • ConduciveMammal

    Assuming thus is a hardware issue. Would Apple recall then entire fleet and have them all replaced or basically tell the user that there’s a replacement fee? Wouldn’t surprise me if it were the latter

  • danuals

    Wow. Mine is off by 3 degrees, doesn’t sound much but noticeable when playing a game that won’t let you calibrate the tilt.
    Forgive my ignorance but surely this can be ‘reset’ with software to re-calibrate?

  • James Cook

    Could be somewhat software related, my iPhone 4’s compass and gyroscope are very inaccurate since I updated to 7.0.2

  • Jo

    first world problems.

  • Rick

    Yup, I have the issue on my iPhone 5s.. iPhone 5 shows 0° when laying on the table while the 5s shows -3°..

  • Guest

    sensorsgate

  • M R

    Some iPhone 5Ss have twisted sensors.
    A Fandroid: OMG, now I should leave everything and tell everyone that APPLE is doomed and iPhone sucks. 😀