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Improving Compass Accuracy on Android Devices

The internal compass of your phone is a very useful tool. Unfortunately, it is very easy for the compass to become unaligned, particularly when indoors. The following are a few solutions to help improve the compass accuracy of your Android device.


Remove all Magnetic Material from your device

Most Android devices contain a Magnetometer that is used by the internal compass. Any interference from a nearby magnetic source may affect the compass readings. Make sure to remove any nearby magnets. Keep in mind phone cases and pop sockets often have magnetic parts built in. If your device becomes unaligned due to the magnet then removing the source will help but you may need to restart your device.


Rotate Your Phone in a Figure 8 Motion

One of the calibration methods your compass utilizes includes motion over time, whether you are walking around or pulling your phone out of your pocket. One trick to help re-align the compass is to rotate your phone in a large figure eight motion. For a small misalignment this will often help fine-tune the accuracy of your compass.


Enable “High Accuracy”

Some Android devices have the option to enable a High Accuracy mode. High Accuracy mode relies on a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth to further improve location accuracy.

  1. Open the “Settings” app.
  2. Tap “Location”.
  3. Tap “Mode”, then “High Accuracy”.
  4. If your device does not have the “Mode” option it may be under “Improve Accuracy” instead.
  5. Within “Improve Accuracy” enable both “Wi-Fi scanning” and “Bluetooth scanning”.


Check Device Location Accuracy with Google Maps

The Google Maps app can help determine your phone’s location accuracy as well as provide tools to properly calibrate your compass.

  1. Open the “Maps” app.
  2. Notice the blue indicator on the map, this represents your current location. The beam on the indicator should be pointing in the direction you are facing. If the blue indicator is not showing, tap the bullseye icon in the bottom right corner. This should bring your location into view.
  3. If the location represented by the blue indicator is not accurate or the beam is pointing in the wrong direction, tap the indicator itself. This will bring up more information about your location.
  4. In the bottom left corner of the screen select “Calibrate compass”. This will open a prompt with steps to follow for proper calibration as well as show the level of your compass accuracy.

If your device’s compass or location is still inaccurate after following these steps, please refer to this guide provided by Google Maps.

Disable and Re-enable Location services

Refreshing Location services can help your device clear any GPS errors from previous readings. Another trick to improve compass accuracy is to simply disable and re-enable Location services.

  1. Open the “Settings” app.
  2. Tap “Location”.
  3. At the top of the screen switch “Location” off and then on again.


Restart your phone

When your compass becomes misaligned, sometimes the fastest method of realignment is to simply restart your device. This may seem tedious, but it is the quickest and most reliable method for restoring your compass to provide optimal readings. For most Android phones, restarting can be achieved by following these steps.

  1. Hold down the power button on your device.
  2. After a few seconds a menu should appear.
  3. Select the “restart” option from the menu.


Hopefully some of these tips help you attain accurate compass readings from your device. If your device continues to have issues, there may be additional software or hardware problems with the phone itself. Please refer to your phone’s manufacturer for information on calibrating your compass or to determine if your device may need repair.