March 20, 2019

Compass

The Compass application is one of many factory installed applications that people ignore on their iPhone. People don't really need a compass to figure out where they are. They simply using Google Maps or Apple Maps.

I thought I check out to see if there are any changes to the Compass application from previous iPhone models.

iPhone 5s, 6s Plus and Max

i Phone Max Compass Layout
iPhone 5s, iPhone 6s Plus and the iPhone XS Max in the same spot

The Compass functionality hasn't changed much between the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPhone XS Max. The big change has been in the software - not much changed with the hardware.

I did notice that the latitude and longitude is different between the iPhone5s and the other models. (42°20'35" N 71°5'1"W) vs (42°20'50" N 71°4'53" W). The iPhone 6s Plus and Max is closer to the actual location to where I was testing.

Five Things I learned about the iOS Compass

  1. You have a choice between True North vs. Magnetic North. You should stick with the default settings of Magnetic North.
  2. If you click on the latitude/longitude you can copy the baring to the clipboard and then paste it in Google Maps or Apple Maps to see how accurate the location is.
  3. When I had the compass application open during a train ride, the location didn't change until I moved to a different app and the refocused on it. The only thing that changed when the application was open was the compass barring.
  4. The elevation feature was added as part of the functionality of the iPhone 6. The Altimeter tells you how high above sea level you are.
  5. Tap the compas baring to lock in that barring. The band will turn red if you are off track. (This helps keep you in a straight line and on track!)

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