Software & Apps

How To Calibrate the iPhone Compass

Iphone Compass

Apple integrated a built-in magnetic field sensor, the magnetometer, which provides compass readings into the iPhone. This useful sensor detects the earth’s magnetic field, guiding you to get the correct direction. However, the slightest magnetic interference can affect how effective the iPhone compass works. 

Quick Answer

When your iPhone compass isn’t working correctly, it’ll be unable to find elevation data or location because it continually points in the wrong direction or freezes, and you need to calibrate it. While this might look complicated, it’s pretty straightforward, and here are steps to follow.

1. Launch the Settings app
2. Click “Privacy”
3. Switch “Location Services”
4. Open “System Services”
5. Enable “Compass Calibration”

When you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to calibrate your iPhone compass. Read on to learn more about how you can calibrate your iPhone compass. In addition, this guide will cover a few frequently asked questions relating to how you can calibrate your iPhone compass. Let’s get started.  

Steps To Calibrate the iPhone Compass

You can calibrate the iPhone compass when your smartphone’s motion sensor isn’t working as expected. This does an excellent job of fixing your iPhone’s compass app. For iPhones running on iOS 10 or newer, this technique has proved to be very effective at resolving any issue they had with the iPhone compass. Here’s a look at the steps you should follow when calibrating your iPhone compass.

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Tap “Privacy”
  3. Click “Location Services”
  4. Tap “System Services”
  5. Enable “Compass Calibration”

After following these steps, your iPhone compass should be able to give you correct readings. Therefore, you’ll be able to make use of your smartphone better. 

How Accurate Are the iPhone Compass Coordinates?

You’d be shocked to learn that the iPhone compass is very accurate, with its reading typically a couple of feet from your exact location. With that said, the compass reading might not be that reliable in well-developed places that often have a lot of concrete and metal. 

How Can You Improve the Accuracy of the iPhone Compass?

When the iPhone compass is misaligned, there are specific measures you can take to rectify this issue besides calibrating it, including the following.

Method #1: Remove All Magnetic Items Close to Your iPhone

The iPhone features a magnetometer which the internal compass uses to tell directions. The working of this magnetometer is affected by the presence of magnetic sources nearby. You can resolve this issue by removing all magnetic items close to your iPhone to ensure your gadget is properly aligned.    

Method #2: Restart Your iPhone

Another easy and effective way to improve your iPhone’s compass accuracy is by restarting this device. This is a reliable technique for correcting misalignment, albeit somewhat tedious for some individuals. Once your iPhone has been restarted, it’ll start working correctly and giving you correct readings.   

Method #3: Disable and Re-Enable Location Services

Your iPhone compass won’t give you correct readings if there are GPS errors from past readings. This is why you need to refresh Location Services to clear such GPS errors and boost the preciseness of the iPhone compass. You can do this by disabling and re-enabling Location Services by following these steps.

  1. Go to the Settings app
  2. Click “Privacy”
  3. Tap “Location Services”
  4. Disable and re-enable “Location Services”

Method #4: Disable True North in the Settings App

The True North is the default for all compass readings, and the same applies to the iPhone compass. Sometimes, you may need to disable the True North depending on the compass you wish to get. As a result, you’ll be able to use the Magnetic North instead, and here are the steps you should follow.

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and click the Compass app
  3. Disable “Use True North”


The in-built compass in an iPhone comes in handy when looking for direction. But when it stops working when you need it the most, you’ll become quite frustrated and risk losing direction when camping, hiking, or jogging. This is why you need to know how you can quickly calibrate it to restore it to perfect working condition. 

Luckily, this guide has resolved this matter by detailing the steps you should follow to calibrate your iPhone’s compass when experiencing the slightest issue. And as you’ve seen, this isn’t complicated and is something you can do without a hassle.   

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does the iPhone Compass work without service? 

Yes, the iPhone compass can work without service as it comes with in-built sensors. Therefore, you don’t need to be connected to the Wi-Fi or have cellular data to use the compass on your iPhone.   

Why is my iPhone Compass not working? 

The in-built compass in the iPhone detects the earth’s magnetic field and points in the right direction. However, sometimes certain things interfere with its functioning, and it stops working properly. The common reason for this happening is magnetic interference that disrupts the reading your iPhone compass gives. 

Knowing this, you should keep your iPhone away from any magnets, as this will prevent it from working properly. 

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