iPhone 5S motion sensor issues could be hardware related

By on October 4, 2013, 7:15 AM
apple, iphone, software, hardware, ios 7, iphone 5s, motion sensor, malfunction

Apple’s latest flagship iPhone is selling at a record pace but widespread reports of problems with the phone’s internal motion sensors could spell trouble for Cupertino. Many are claiming the accelerometer, compass and gyroscope in the iPhone 5S are extremely error-prone but whether or not it’s a hardware issue or something that can be solved with a software update remains to be seen.

Gizmodo recently tested two iPhone 5S units running the latest version of iOS 7. When compared against the iPhone 5 and real-world measuring tools like a level, they found the 5S’ were embarrassingly inaccurate.

It may not sound like a huge deal but it could cause a lot of problems. For example, when using a level app like iHandy Level to hang shelves or picture frames, you’re going to end up with a terrible looking project. More common, perhaps, is the fact that it will also cause issues with games that use the gyroscope. When placed on a flat table, the publication found the steering in EA’s Real Racing 3 to veer to the left. Oops.

The issues seemed to persist with the Compass app as well. When getting steady readings, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S were consistently about 8-10 degrees apart. Furthermore, the Compass app on the 5S often crashed or gave wonky readings that were only remedied by killing and restarting the app.

Some speculate that because the issues aren’t present in the iPhone 5 with iOS 7, the incident could be hardware-related. Specifically, the devices might not have been calibrated correctly from the factory and if that’s the case, there are potentially millions of faulty devices in the hands of Apple customers.

We’ll keep an eye on this and see if Apple publically addresses the issue in the coming days or weeks.

User Comments: 12

Got something to say? Post a comment
bielius bielius said:

If hardware is the case, ooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuch

3 people like this |
Steve Steve said:

I would like a moment to be childish...

"You're Holding it Wrong"

Thank you

insect said:

I would like a moment to be childish...

"You're Holding it Wrong"

Thank you

This. Apple doesn't admit bugs, only user error or "features". Oh, and no returns. We will have to "repair" that for you at the same cost as a new phone.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

I find that there is always some aspect of their products that aren't properly tested...

1 person liked this | wastedkill said:

Watch their reply be "its your brain waves they are interfering with the device its not the phone"

Guest said:

As a recent switcher from an Iphone 4 to a Galaxy S4 I can assure you, I will never buy apple again

Guest said:

I don't see how "improper factory calibration" could possibly be a "hardware related" problem. All that means is that with a simple software update the device can reissue the calibration command. I am not familiar enough with ios7 to know if it is something the user can simply do themselves or not. I do find it pretty amazing that Apple consistently fails to fully field test their products even though they see themselves as the brand that puts out only the best most polished devices.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

This is quite odd, I have yet to get one of these phones, but that is a major issue if its hardware related. Hopefully this can be fixed via software, but if it is hardware... Apple is in trouble as that would cost a fortune to the company.

Guest said:

iPhones selling at a record pace? The latest numbers being crunched seem to suggest otherwise: 3-5 days on the 5s and an oversupply on the 5c only a couple of weeks after the release date. Hardware and software problems abound. And Apple has already issued a announced they are getting ready to release the iPhone 8.1. That should take care of everything.

1 person liked this | Rabbit01 Rabbit01 said:

I've never considered using a phone as a level. I would actually use the proper tool for the job and make sure it's done right the 1st time.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

If it's hardware related, there's still a chance that the hardware is misreading by a value, not by a percentage. Through thorough testing, a patch could be issued to affected devices only to calibrate the software in regards to the value.

If it's percentage, or random ...

Railman said:

I've never considered using a phone as a level. I would actually use the proper tool for the job and make sure it's done right the 1st time.

like a proper spirit level or a laser level. Devices useful for proving the accuracy of your iPhone!

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.