Tests Show Motion Sensors in iPhone 5S May be Calibrated Incorrectly
When people think of the iPhone, many associate features such as build quality and reliability with the device lineup. A recent examination appears to show otherwise though with sensors in at least some models of the iPhone 5S being noticeably miscalibrated. Developers of many apps seem to have taken advantage of the sensors that Apple builds into its handsets, using the technology for games, measurements, navigation and more. The folks over at Gizmodo
ran a series of tests which were conducted on two separate iPhone 5S units showing that these units give inaccurate measures for the device’s level, accelerometer, compass and gyroscope.
The tests compared the iPhone 5S’ results against those of the iPhone 5 and a number of dedicated physical measuring tools. In testing the device’s leveling calibration, the iPhone 5S’ readout was 2-3 degrees when compared against a Stanley spirit level. Other users reported that 5S’ readout was off by 4-6 degrees. The iPhone 5 gave a reading nearly identical to the physical level, indicating that hardware could be the issue.
It appears that the gyroscopic function in the iPhone 5S, which relies on the same hardware as the inclinometer, fared a little better. The iPhone 5 showed the expected 0-degree readout when set on a level table. The iPhone 5S however, showed -3 degrees off level. In additional tests, the compass app on the iPhone 5 showed a more accurate reading for magnetic north when compared against a real compass than it did on the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5 and 5S were consistently measured at 8-10 degrees apart. The accelerometer on the newer iPhone also seems to be reliably registered more latent motion than did the one in the iPhone 5.
The folks conducting the test noted that it is far from conclusive but that it appears to be in line with what has been seen in other tests of the device’s sensors. It is unclear to what extent the flawed readings stem from hardware but the report expresses confidence that at least some of the problems could be mitigated with a software update. Several users have reportedly taken their devices back to have them exchanged with some reporting that the problem has disappeared.