Uh Oh: The iPhone 5S Motion Sensors Are Seriously Miscalibrated

Pro Tip: There may be an app for that, but that doesn’t mean you should be using your iPhone to help you hang a picture straight or ensure that a table you’re building is level. That goes double if you’ve got the new iPhone 5S. This handy GIF from Gizmodo will explain why:

Through a series of tests, Gizmodo determined that the calibration on the internal inclinometer (level), gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer on the iPhone 5S are, as the kids say, totally whack. Here are a few of the most pertinent bits of Gizmodo’s report.

On the compass:

The iPhone 5S level readout in the iOS 7 compass software read 2-3 degrees off in our tests, while other users are reporting that the level is off by as many as 4-6 degrees. We performed the same test with an iPhone 5, and readout was almost perfect, indicating that hardware is at least partly the culprit.

On the gyroscope, when placed on a level surface:

The iPhone 5 reads level, while the iPhone 5S reads -3 degrees off level.

On the compass:

The two phones consistently measured 8-10 degrees apart. It’s also worth noting that on the iPhone 5S, the compass application was prone to either freezing up or giving wonky readings that could only be fixed by killing and restarting the app.

On the accelerometer:

We did a brief test on the new iPhone’s accelerometer data, and preliminary results seem to indicate that the 5S is registering way more latent motion than the iPhone 5.

You can read the full report on Gizmodo.

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