It's happened to almost everyone. You're trying to find your way around, and the arrow in your navigation app doesn't point in the right direction, moves around arbitrarily or doesn't move at all. If you're having a hard time using your smartphone to tell the direction you're facing, your phone's compass needs to be recalibrated. In this article, we'll show you how to do it.
Rotate the device on each axis a few times to calibrate the compass
Calibrating your phone's compass is actually easy. Assuming you have Google Maps (who doesn't?), open the app and follow these simple steps:
Hold your phone as you normally would. Then, while the phone is still facing you, tilt the top of your phone forward (away from you) and backward (toward you).
Now, hold the phone as you normally would, upright with the screen facing you. Then turn it to face to your left, then to your right.
Next, hold your phone upright as you normally would again. Then, while the phone still faces you, tilt the top of the phone from one side to the other (like you're switching to landscape mode).
Figure 8 pattern to calibrate compass
If that method isn't effective, you can get the same result by moving your smartphone around in a figure 8 pattern in the air. Just open Google Maps and follow the motions in the video above - it's easy, though you may look really foolish doing it in public.
Third party apps
You can also install an app from the Play Store to tell you the status of your compass and other sensors, which will then help you know when to calibrate them. GPS Essentials, for example, does just this.