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Google Maps sometimes asks me to calibrate my compass. Last time it did so, I was in a rush and didn't bother to, and now the compass does seem a bit off. I tried to find a "calibrate compass" setting in Maps, but I couldn't find it.

How can I calibrate the compass on my phone?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is now an official Google answer to this problem:

Open the Google Maps app and then follow these directions:

  1. Tilt your phone forward and back
  2. Move it side to side
  3. And then tilt left and right

You may need to repeat the steps until your compass is calibrated.

Compass calibration graphic

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It depends on your model of phone. If there is no built-in compass calibration application from the manufacturer, then likely you can calibrate your compass by opening up any application that uses the compass, and moving the device in a certain manner. Here are two types of movements to try:

  • The "figure 8 pattern" easier said than understood. Here's what it looks like YouTube Video of Figure 8 compass calibration.

  • Three axis rotations: Rotate 360° around each of the three axes, so one full rotation with screen facing up, one full rotation "rolling" sideways, one full rotation "pitching" forward.

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While you and Seth both gave pretty much the same answer, it helped that you linked in a video of what the figure 8 pattern is :-) – Nathan Fellman Jun 8 '11 at 16:23

There may be an option in your settings, but easier, just open Google maps, start using the compass and spin your phone in figure 8 pattern. That is all there is to it.

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