New Tests Point to Multiple Issues With iPhone 5s Sensors

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Reports of inaccurate motion sensors in the iPhone 5s continue to grow. As reported last week on Cult of Mac, there appear to be widespread problems with the 5s’ compass, gyroscope and accelerometer.

The original forum thread at MacRumors is now at a whopping 19 pages of user reports, and Apple has yet to respond to Cult of Mac’s repeated requests for information.

This morning, Gizmodo conducted its own tests and found the iPhone 5s motion sensors to be “totally screwed up.”

Looks like the problem is far more widespread than the naysayers on our original post, and on the MacRumors thread, are willing to admit.

While our unscientific tests last week showed that something was up with the compass component of the Cult of Mac iPhone 5s, the fine folks over at Gizmodo have put their iPhone 5s through a few more rigorous paces, posting pictures and video of just how inaccurate their iPhone’s results are across all the device’s motion sensors.

They tested the level, comparing it to a real world bubble level, and using both Apple’s Level app as well as highly-regarded HandyLevel. They then tested the gyroscope with a racing game, finding that their in-game car drifted off to the left when the iPhone 5s was held level.

The team then checked out the compass, comparing it to a real compass as well as that of the Compass app on an iPhone 4S, finding that readings tended to be off by as much as eight to ten degrees. “It’s also worth noting that on the iPhone 5S,” they wrote, “the compass application was prone to either freezing up or giving wonky readings that could only be fixed by killing and restarting the app.”

This all points to the same potential cause, as pointed out in the MacRumors forum thread. The inconsistency of the problem, coupled with the fact that iPhone 5 devices with iOS 7 do not have the same problem, points to a hardware calibration issue.

If Apple deals with this issue the same way it appears to be dealing with iPhone 5 “dust in the lens” issues, chances are that if you have a calibration issue, you’ll need to take it into an Apple Store and get a new iPhone 5s without the issue. It’s not likely that Apple will issue any sort of recall, as of yet.

We’ll continue to follow the news around this motion sensor problem, and continue to try and get a response from Apple as well. Stay tuned.

  • Chadbk1977

    So whats going on with the iPhone 4S power button issue thats ongoing and still happeneing to people non-stop?
    Also, looks like I’ll be postponing my 5S upgrade till this issue is fixed.

  • knuckles1978

    Apple better look out. Sooner or later these sheep are gonna wake up and wonder wtf they’re doing. 4s antenna. iPh5 power switch, iph5’s received brand new already scratched and dented. Yellow tinted screens. And all the sensor problems.. Build quality?? What f*!%&#@ build quality? Complete pieces of s!*@, and people are finally starting to realise. God knows why it’s taken them so long.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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