iPhone 6 Altimeter Paradox

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by macdude3, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. macdude3 macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Recently, I have been very curious about the accuracy of the altimeter in the iPhone 6 so I decided to test it by downloading the app "Travel Altimeter Lite", making a small app in Xcode to read the altimeter data off the iPhone's sensor, and then comparing the values from the two apps. And guess what? The altitude as displayed by the app I made was the exact same as the altitude displayed by the app I downloaded (of course the latter was rounded to the nearest meter). I mean, I went up in a tree, I held my iPhone way above my head and way below my feet, but the values in both apps were always the same.

    The paradoxical thing about all this is that the altimeter app on the app store was last updated on May 14th so its completely impossible that the app accounted for the iPhone 6's altimeter sensor.

    One more point of interest – I asked my friend who had an iPhone 5s to download the altimeter app and he did in fact get a way different value than the one I was getting on my device even though we were standing next to each other.

    So what gives? Clearly the iPhone 6 does have an altimeter, but I'm still curious as to how this app is able to read the data off the new iPhones. Did Apple simply not record that it was in fact updated?
  2. troop231 macrumors 603

    Jan 20, 2010
    No, that's impossible the way app updates work on the App Store. The developer is most likely using another solution to gather the altitude data.
  3. macdude3 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Any way you shake it though, the iPhone 6 and 5s should generate the same numbers (roughly). But they don't at all. I just don't get it.
  4. BrettDS macrumors 65816

    Nov 14, 2012
    Is it definitely possible to read the barometric data on the iPhone 6? For some reason I was thinking that Apple didn't make it available to devs. Additionally, it's not really an altimeter, but rather a barometer that the health app uses to get relative altitude changes.

    You can get altitude data from the GPS and I'm wondering if that's what both you and the older app are looking at.
  5. macdude3 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Yeah, it appears the altitude data is coming from the gps. So what I assume is that the altitude variable takes the barometer data into consideration on the iPhone 6. A cool, definitely useful change. And there is actually a second variable to get the barometer data –*that one can only be accessed on the iPhone 6. Paradox solved.

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