The Android Compass Calibration instructions in Google Maps on Android

Google Maps uses your Android device’s magnetometer to determine which direction you’re heading. To improve your device’s location accuracy, you need to calibrate your compass in the Google Maps app. Here’s how.

Your device needs a magnetometer for the compass function to work, and almost all Android smartphones have these included. You also need to install the Google Maps Android app , if it isn’t already.

These instructions should work on all recent Android versions.

Checking Google Maps Direction Accuracy

Before you calibrate your compass, check to 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 is too vast, Google Maps will usually ask you to calibrate your compass. If it doesn’t, you need to calibrate it manually.

Calibrating Your Android Compass in Google Maps

If Google Maps doesn’t calibrate your compass automatically, you must perform a manual calibration. Open the Google Maps app, making sure that your blue circular device location icon is in view.

Tap on the location icon to bring up more information about your location. At the bottom, tap the “Calibrate Compass” button.

In your detailed location information screen in Google Maps, press the Calibrate Compass button to calibrate your device compass

This will bring up the compass calibration screen. Your current compass accuracy should be displayed at the bottom as either low, medium, or high.

While holding your device and following the method shown on-screen, move your phone around three times, tracing a figure eight in the process.

During Android compass calibration in Google Maps, trace your phone in a figure-of-eight shape three times

Google Maps will alert you once you’ve successfully calibrated your device, returning to the app’s main map screen automatically.

The location of an Android device in Google Maps, with a calibrated compass

If the calibration process was a success, the range of your direction beam should be reduced, improving your location accuracy in the process.

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Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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