Is there a compass sensor or a software emulating a compass in each Android smartphone? Or maybe is there a solution for it problem starting from Android 4.0 ICS?

  • What is the "problem" you mention? Your question is unclear. If you are only asking if every single android device has a compass, then the answer is no. An example, I don't know of one set top box that runs android that would have a compass. – Ryan Conrad Oct 18 '15 at 18:13
  • It still isn't clear what the problem is, but no, there is not a compass in all Android phones. – onik Oct 19 '15 at 22:52

No, not every Android smartphone has real compass (magnetometer) sensor. Even Google claims that,

Few Android-powered devices have every type of sensor. For example, most handset devices and tablets have an accelerometer and a magnetometer (which refers to compass usage on latter text), but fewer devices have barometers or thermometers.

(Emphasis mine for added info)

Note that Google specifically says most handset devices, which should include most (but not all) phones and tablets.

However, it seems that GPS can be used as a compass too, albeit unreliable. But again, not all Android devices have GPS receiver.

As for software emulation, I haven't found any method that can emulate compass without magnetometer, and thus, I concluded that it's impossible for now.

The conclusion is, since not all Android handsets has compass sensor/GPS receiver, and there is no way to emulate compass without them, the answer is: No, not every Android smartphones have compass feature.


You probably have a compass built in, try looking for it in the specifications of your phone (a lot of sites list them). As to use it, you can install an app from Play store, there is plenty of them, just search 'compass'. It may be that some of them use other data sources (internet, geoloco, ...) to make up for the absence of a specific compass sensor.

  • thanks @Nicola, it's not about a specific device, I need to have this info for all the android devices – eeadev Oct 14 '15 at 7:11

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