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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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.