There are always a few teething problems, usually limited to a relatively small number of devices, when a product first launches. Past iPhone releases have been no exception, and for Apple’s latest iPhone launch it appears some users are experiencing issues related to the iPhone 5s’s sensors. We’ve been receiving several complaints from iPhone users about inaccurate readings from the gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, and other sensor-based features for the device, and today Gizmodo found similar issues with a 5s unit that it tested:

We’ve confirmed the new iPhone’s failings on our own. It’s not just off. It’s embarrassing… We tested two iPhone 5S units running the latest version of iOS 7 against the iPhone 5, as well as against real-world measuring tools to find out if the new iPhone’s sensors are off, and if they are, by how much. In most cases, we used the iPhone’s built-in iOS 7 apps for measurements, working under the assumption that Apple would properly calibrate its hardware to work with the software of its own design. We were wrong.

Gizmodo tested the iPhone’s level, gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer and found that the 5s is off compared to the same tests on an iPhone 5 and 4S. For example, it discovered its 5s unit’s level was reading 2-3 degrees off the 5 and 4S, which also proved to be troublesome for games that rely on the gyroscope, like driving games, for motion controls:

The same issue was the case with the compass, measuring around 8-10 degrees different than the iPhone 5, as well as the accelerometer, which Gizmodo says “is registering way more latent motion.”

Since all devices tested by Gizmodo and others were running iOS 7, all signs point to a hardware issue with the 5s, but it’s still possible software optimizations could fix how the 5s records data from its sensors. We’ll have to wait for official word from Apple to know for sure.


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13 Responses to “iPhone 5s sensors providing inaccurate readings for some”

  1. Putting two phones next to each other creates interference which effects the compass.


  2. schlossi2 says:

    Even worse on my 5s:

    20 degrees off, and the 4S is 100% correct.


  3. Mines too! Hopefully Apple will change my iPhone 5s.


  4. nathanchow says:

    At least for the level, you can just zero it (by tapping the compass) on a level surface, or in comparison with a level. The example depicted in the Gizmodo photo is not an issue. The cause of users are seeing different degree measurements might be because they calibrated 0º accidentally.


  5. Jim Phong says:

    Someone is spreading a lot of false info regarding these claimed bugs… multiple fake accounts used on forums to tell lies attacking Apple.
    On Macrumors forums there is a thread with a guy showing a panoramic picture claiming that the defective sensors would have bent it in the middle… but if you watch the picture you can see that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it and it couldn’t have been any different .. in the middle there is a cylinder structure that surely wasn’t bent and became like that due to claimed defective sensors…


  6. Correction.. Not for some, for all..


  7. Those iOS accuracy issues were always there.

    There was just no default compass/level app installed to bring everyones attention.

    Those who want a properfly calibrated compass on iOS use the “Spyglass” app – which is specifically designed to overcome issues like that.


  8. Bob G says:

    Tested my new 5c against the old 4s and a bubble level. It was spot on–both the compass and the level. Gizmodo might just have a defective sample…or needed a good story to post to attract eyeballs.


  9. Is this problem in all the 5s’s? I am planning on buying one but if I find that it is in all of them I will just have to wait until they have straightened it out.