It's happened to almost everyone. You're trying to find your way around, and the arrow in your navigation app doesn't point in the right direction, moves around arbitrarily or doesn't move at all. If you're having a hard time using your smartphone to tell the direction you're facing, your phone's compass needs to be recalibrated. In this article, we'll show you how to do it.
- How to calibrate the compass using Google Maps
- How to check your smartphone's compass and sensors with Google Maps
- Using a 3rd party app
Calibrating your phone's compass is actually easy. Assuming you have Google Maps (who doesn't?), open the app and follow these simple steps:
- Tap the blue dot on Google Maps that indicates your location
- Follow the instructions according to the diagram shown.
- Presto! A new calibrated compass. The blue dot should now be facing the right direction.
Do you find Google's diagram hard to follow? We've put together a video showing the motions:
This method involves using one of Android's secret dial codes to access the sensor information. Depending on your manufacturer however, it might not work, or require root. Nonetheless, if you don't want to use Google Maps or a 3rd party app, this is worth a shot.
- On your phone dial on the telephone keypad *#0*# This brings up a "secret" service menu as shown above.
- You will see a list of tiles, tap one named "sensor"
- Now in real time you can see all the sensors on your phone, the compass is the circle at the bottom with a line through it pointing to north.
- If the compass on the phone is calibrated correctly the line going through the circle should be colored blue with a number 3 next to it.
- If you have a green line going through it and a number 2 this means it is not properly calibrated on one axis, so you need to do the figure 8 dance as described in the above method (preferably outside not near any magnetic fields).
- The check that the line going through the circle is now blue with number 3 next to it.
You can also install an app from the Play Store to tell you the status of your compass and other sensors, which will then help you know when to calibrate them. GPS Essentials, for example, does just this.
If you're still having trouble with your GPS, compass or navigation app, try our tips to improve GPS signal. Got any questions? Let us know in the comments!