Some Android devices feature a gyro (gyroscope) sensor. Some only have a compass sensor.

Besides a gyro being 3D and a compass being 2D, what are the differences between a gyro sensor and a compass sensor?

  • Um, Lizard – isn't that Android independent? Same sensors are used in non-Android devices IMHO. As for the difference, have you checked the Wikipedia Gyroscope page?
    – Izzy
    Aug 8, 2016 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


A compass is showing north, nothing more.

A gyro sensor checks the horizontal position, where is up and down. With this sensor you can create these funny games like "Waterslide", where the phone checks, to which side you hold your phone. The gyro sensor cannot see where north is, like the compass.

  • Thanks franc. What is the horizontal position relative to? Aug 11, 2016 at 10:11
  • To the ground surface. The sensor is just using the gravitiy to check where the "down" is.
    – franc
    Aug 11, 2016 at 10:12
  • Thanks. That's for "up" and "down"... but what about "left" and "right"? What is that relative to? Aug 11, 2016 at 10:15
  • There is no left and right. There is only down and up (as its opposite). Think as it as it were an electronical spirit level.
    – franc
    Aug 11, 2016 at 10:18
  • OK... I was confused by "to which side you hold your phone". Aug 11, 2016 at 10:19

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