Google Maps uses your Android device’s magnetometer to determine which direction you’re heading. To improve your device’s location accuracy, you may need to calibrate your compass in the Google Maps app. Here’s how to do it.
One of the many sensors in your Android phone is a magnetometer, and that’s one of the main components that enable the compass function to work. The Google Maps then uses that information to know which direction you’re facing. It’s pretty important, and sometimes you need to recalibrate the compass to ensure accuracy. So let’s go ahead and do it.
Checking Google Maps Direction Accuracy
Before you calibrate your compass, check to see if your device’s direction is being accurately reported in the Google Maps app. Open the Google Maps app on your Android device, then look for the blue circular icon showing your location. If it isn’t visible, press the circular bullseye icon in the bottom-right corner.
This will bring up your location into view, as far as Google Maps understands it to be. Your device’s direction is shown as a blue flashlight-style beam around your circular location icon.
If the beam’s range seems too wide, Google Maps will usually ask you to calibrate your compass. If it doesn’t, we’ll need to calibrate it manually.
Calibrating Your Android Compass in Google Maps
If Google Maps doesn’t calibrate your compass automatically, you can do a manual calibration. Open the Google Maps app, making sure that your blue circular device location icon is in view, then tap on the location icon to bring up more information about your location.
You may see a message that says “Location Accuracy is Low” with a “Calibrate” button. If now, scroll through the horizontal list of buttons to find it.
You’ll be asked to turn on your camera and move it around to detect your surroundings. Tap “Next” and follow the instructions.
If you’re not in an area with storefronts and easily identifiable buildings, after a while, you’ll see the option to “Use Compass.”
Move your phone in a figure-eight pattern until the “Compass Accuracy” says “High.” Now you can tap ‘Done.”
The flashlight beam on the blue location icon should now be narrower than it was before.
Hopefully, Google Maps will be better able to get you around. The compass may not be super important when driving as GPS knows which direction you’re going, but it’s important when moving slowly for walking directions.