The iOS Compass and True North

The iOS Compass and True North


Hello this is Glenn Howes of Generally Helpful
Software . I recently got a negative review of my app,
TV Towers USA. “This would be a nice app if it pointed in
the right direction! Most of the time its sense of direction differs
from the compass app. How can that be?” 2 Stars. Ok, well I don’t like getting negative reviews, so I’m
going to tell you why it differs. Go to TV Towers USA. Go to the compass tab. And rotate the device so that it is lined
up with North. This is pointing at the axis of rotation of
the Earth, the “North Pole”. On the other hand, if I go to the compass
app that iOS provides, you will see that it is not pointing at the North Pole. Where I live, in New Hampshire, it is pointing
14-16 degrees or whatever it is away from the North Pole. When Iine it up, what I’m now pointing at
is the magnetic North Pole.Now, if you wanted to act like a regular compass, that’s what
you’d expect. But, you can go to the Compass settings, it’s
in the Setting app, search for Compass. You will notice that there is a setting “Use True
North”. That means that if you activate that, and
kill the Compass app, because it isn’t going to use the setting until it’s restarted, you
will now find that the Compass app will now try to point at the actual North Pole. Which is quite a bit different here from the
magnetic North Pole. And now if I go back to TV Towers USA, and
I tap on the Compass it is also pointing North. They agree. As long as you avoid big chunks of metal, and
you’ll get an accurate direction. Why this difference? Well on the globe, the North Pole we spin
around, and the magnetic North Pole which sort of moves around over time. Right now it’s near Greenland according to
Wikipedia. It’s at a different place and a real compass
will point at a different location than a fancy computer compass. That’s it. Thank you.

17 thoughts on “The iOS Compass and True North

  1. Why the noth point changes when i move the phone (in the same spot)? Like it confuses me… lol

  2. You forgot to line up the compass with the little cross.

  3. All regular compass use magnetic north by default.. it is not wrong…

  4. Even when I set my phone down, the compass moves so much! It moves more when set to magnetic north but it’s very disappointing as I need a compass to align my EQ mount at night :/

  5. Well done mate and great tip. I use this to assist in aligning to the SCP before doing astrophotography (need to align to true sth).

  6. Thank you for this teaching. I will now see if I can apply it to my Winegard outside digital antenna. Also, you helped me see how the metal of the antenna influences my iphone compass. Wish me luck.

  7. Wrong

  8. Very helpful as I didn't know there was a setting for the compass. Unfortunately, I changed the setting, and it didn't improve that much. It's still off by over 30 degrees. My cheap $2 compass will have to work for now. Come to think of it, the problem is probably the magnet in the phone cover! It keeps the lid shut without a tab.

  9. Hey bud, by chance have you done the update to 12.0.1?? Noticed some compuse issues, north is south ,south is north… can you test this??

  10. lol that globe has me in tears

  11. lots of idiots dont understand how the real world works

  12. fascinating. i had no idea.

  13. My STUPID ios compass shows west when pointing north. Its downright unreliable and wont recalibrate.

  14. Excellent explanation. Thanks!! I'm going to try it on my iPhone.

  15. Hello what is app

  16. groovy app thanx!

  17. So the iPhone 11 just reintroduced a feature that was taken out a while back? I am confused.

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