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4 min read 5 comments

How to calibrate the sensors on your smartphone

Sensors are those small, ignored components that are actually much more important than you might think. They make the majority of the most commonly used functions on your smartphone possible, and even help save battery power. We're going to take a look at how to calibrate your smartphone sensors and keep them in good working order.

Motion sensors are the most important part of certain games, such as Asphalt 8 or Real Racing 3. The proximity sensor also helps us to save a lot of battery power by turning the display off while we're talking on the phone, or by measuring light and adjusting the brightness accordingly.

From time to time, for some unknown reason, a sensor stops working like it should. Before deciding if it's broken or not, we're should try to calibrate it. Sometimes the problem will fix itself.

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AndroidPIT fingerprint sensor xperia z5 compact
Some Xperia models come with their own software to diagnose sensor performance. / © AndroidPIT

Check to see if your sensors are working

Like we've said, sensors are vital for many of the basic functions on your phone, but they’re known to stop working the way they should from time to time. Sometimes, the problem is that the app that uses a certain sensor isn't interpreting the data correctly.

In order to find out if that's the case, the only thing you have to do is download a different app that uses the same sensor and try it out. For example, if in Asphalt 8 the car doesn't respond to your movements, try it on Real Racing 3.

It's not always as easy as testing another app though. On occasion, you'll need to use one of the following apps to dive into the depths of your smartphone in order to check if the sensors are taking measurements.

In some cases, like Sony’s Xperia family (such as the Xperia Z3), phones come with a diagnostic tool. You can find it by going to Settings > About phone > Diagnostic, or just open the app from the app drawer. If you go to the Test tab, you can check the performance of each sensor separately or a do a complete diagnosis.

androidpit gsm code com
Secret Android codes aren't hard to use. / © AndroidPIT

For those devices that don’t come with this feature, we have an option to test sensor performance within the hidden menus. To access them, you'll need to go the phone dialer and put in a certain number combination. Android has secret codes to access each of their hidden settings, but there are some codes which change according to the manufacturer.

You can test the performance of your sensors as well other features like the camera, the display or the audio in different diagnostic modes.

Here are some examples. We have the code, *#*#4636#*#* in order to access status information about multiple components and usage statistics. For Xperia devices we also have this code, *#*#7378423#*#*, which during Service tests, you'll be able to check if on-screen items are working properly.

Secret number
The secret menu on the Sony Xperia Z2. / © AndroidPIT

Calibrating sensors

There are a lot of reasons one might want to calibrate their phone's sensors. It might not be necessary, but you want to make sure that everything is calibrated perfectly. Or maybe something's not working properly, and you'd like to run this feature to see whether it's broken or not. Whatever your reason, some of your sensors can be calibrated, although this depends as much on your phone as on Google Play.

On some LG devices, starting with LG G2, you can calibrate the motion sensor by going to Settings > General tab > Motion. All you need to do is follow the directions and in a matter of seconds, your sensor will be calibrated.

There are some brands, like Sony, which don't let you calibrate all of the sensors. In this case, it would be better to access Google Play and find an app that can recalibrate the sensor that you're trying to fix up.

If there isn't an app available, there is another, more drastic way to do it. Resetting your phone to factory settings will normally recalibrate all the sensors automatically.

AndroidPIT xposed framework modules 4280
Users with Xposed framework modules have even more options. / © AndroidPIT

Root users with cooked ROMs, Xposed modules and other apps for this type of user, have even more options to personalize and control the sensors on their smartphones. However you diagnose and calibrate your phone, share your methods with us below!

Do you use a third-party app? Does your ROM include a calibration option?



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  • Sorin 7 months ago Link to comment

    My phone says in a report that last month I made 4 km on foot. It is much less than I did in reality. Now I understand that I really had to calibrate the sensor! Thanks for the article.

  • Would this improve the GPS working on the map apps on my phone? Do you recommend any specific app? Hubby and I have a Huawei Mate 7 (each), but his GPS seems to work better than mine.

  • Never thought about this much, but now I realize that that's what my compass app is doing when I start using it again (I use it maybe twice a month). It goes through the setup process to calibrate itself.

  • Selvig Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    Any idea when Xposed will be available for Nougat?

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