How to Calibrate the Compass for Android

Make sure you're facing the right direction before following the GPS

man using compass while hiking

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Google Maps isn’t always accurate when it comes to pinpointing your position, but there are tweaks you can make to your Android device to improve upon this functionality. Here's how to calibrate the compass on Android so your location is always spot on.

The tutorial below is only intended for users with smartphones or tablets running the Android operating system.

How to Check Your Location in Google Maps for Android

Before calibrating your compass, let’s first check and see if your location and direction are being tracked correctly by your Android device.

  1. Launch the Google Maps app on your smartphone or tablet.

  2. A map of the surrounding area should immediately appear, with a blue dot notating your exact location and direction.

  3. If a blue dot doesn't appear, tap Your Location, represented by a bullseye and located in the lower right-hand corner of the screen directly above the GO icon.

  4. Maps may decide you need to calibrate your compass. It will bring up a screen with instructions to move the phone in a figure eight motion. Do so, then tap Done.

    Maps, Bullseye, Done calibrating button on Android

How to Calibrate Android GPS

If the aforementioned blue dot doesn't signify your specific location, or if the beam accompanying it is either wide or pointing in the wrong direction, then you’ll want to calibrate your device’s compass by following the steps below.

  1. Return to the Google Maps app interface. If the beam accompanying the blue dot is rather wide, this signifies calibration may be necessary to fine tune the smartphone’s compass.

    Wide compass indicator in Google Maps
  2. Hold your device right-side up, then move it in a “figure 8” motion a few times.

  3. You’ll know calibration is complete when the beam becomes narrower and is pointing in an accurate direction.

    Narrow compass indicator on Google Maps

Other Tips for Improving Google Maps Location Accuracy

There are other ways you can improve the accuracy of your Android smartphone or tablet’s compass, such as connecting your device to a Wi-Fi network or restarting it.

You should also ensure Google Maps is updated to the latest version.