My Altitude app showing the altitiude
Khamosh Pathak / How-To Geek

If you’re traveling, you might be curious as to the altitude of the place you’re at. The altitude can tell you a lot about the weather and the living conditions. Here’s how you can measure altitude on your iPhone.

Before we begin, a word about the difference between altitude and elevation. While people use them interchangeably, they have slightly different meanings.

According to, altitude is defined as the height of an object or place “above a given planetary reference plane, especially above sea level on earth.” Similarly, the website defines elevation as the height to which something is elevated or to which it rises, above sea level, or ground level.” The main difference here is that altitude is always calculated from the sea level.

If you only want to measure the height of a place you’re at, you can simply use the Compass app on your iPhone. It has a built-in elevation feature.

RELATED: How to Measure Elevation on Your iPhone

To measure the altitude, use the free My Altitude app. The app uses both the device’s built-in barometer sensors and NOAA location data to give you accurate figures.

Once you open the app, give the app access to location services, so it can determine your exact location. You’ll now see the altitude at the top of the screen. You can tap on it to switch between metric and imperial units.

Showing the altitude in meters from location

If you have a newer iPhone (iPhone 6 and higher), the app will use the device’s sensor to determine your altitude (it’s more accurate). But you can also see the data from the NOAA database.

Tap on the “Data Files” tab in the bottom-right corner.

Tap on Data Files tab

Because this is the first time you’re using this feature, the app will ask you to download the data file for the region. Tap on the “Yes” button.

Tap on Yes button from popup

You’ll see a map divided into a grid layout. Find your current region and tap on it to download the NOAA data.

Select the region

You’ll see another confirmation popup for downloading the data file. Here, tap on the “Yes” button again.

Tap on yes to confirm

In a couple of seconds, the data file will be loaded in the app. Again, tap on the “Data Files” tab from the bottom of the app’s home screen.

All the sections will remain the same, but the data will now switch to the NOAA database.

The altitude shown from data file

You can tap on the “Device Sensor” button again to switch back.

This is just one of the many hidden features in iOS. Take a look at our list of hidden iPhone features to learn more.

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Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on Lifehacker, iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has nearly a decade of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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