I am trying to understand better the "Significant Motion" sensor:

I know that I have accelerometer. Does it mean that the device also supports "Significant Motion sensor"? According to https://source.android.com/devices/sensors/sensor-types.html#significant_motion it is the same, but I'm not sure.

Is there a utility/apk to check its validity ?

Thank you, Ran

  • Sensor test for Android lists both of them in the sensor list it checks and displays- beyond that I am not aware if there are same or not
    – beeshyams
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 16:32

2 Answers 2


The significant motion sensor is a virtual sensor using the physical accelerometer. From android.com:

A significant motion detector triggers when the detecting a “significant motion”: a motion that might lead to a change in the user location.

This means the significant motion sensor will only provide data if a significant motion is detected by the system (e.g. walking). The accelerometer continuously returns the accelerations for each axis.

To check out those sensors you can install one of many sensor apps. I usually use cpu-z.

  • using sensors detection tools, I get that device watch (D5) does not support this sensor. Yet, it has built in (android) feature for detection of mevement, which lets the screen turned off, yet it power on the screen on movement. So, I don't understand how they implemented that feature if it has no “significant motion”.
    – ransh
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 14:59
  • I assume that it works differently on watches because significant motions do not really mather. You rather want to detect gestures instead of general movement. You want to know the difference between a simple movement of the wrist (e.g. when you are walking with your hands in the pocket) and e.g. when you are looking on your watch or you are no longer looking on it... The are called Wrist Gestures: developer.android.com/wear/preview/features/gestures.html Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 15:07
  • The problem is that I need my watch to sleep between this movement/gestures. From my reading only "Significant Motion" and "proximity" can wakeup the device from sleep. can gestures wake it too ?
    – ransh
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 15:11
  • Since it would not make a whole lot of sense to wake a watch up on a significant motion like walking, I assume that a wrist gesture can wake up a device. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 6:48

Significant Motion can be implemented by underlying physical sensor: Accelerometer. But it should be low power, which means that it should be implemented in sensor hub, and not AP.

A watch/phone have an Accelerometer sensor, but may not have an Significant Motion sensor.

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