iPhone Compass Interference Problem

I have an iPhone 3GS. I’m not sure why but the compass stopped working. (Maybe because the phone is a couple of years old, has some cracks in the case, and has seen heavy use.) When I’d start the compass (or any app that used the compass) I’d get a message about interference and an instruction to swirl the phone around in a figure 8.

I tried the using the compass away from all electronics or other metal objects that might cause interference and swirled it around in a figure 8 until my arm was about to fall off. Nothing got it working. Finally after some Google-assisted research someone suggested moving a magnet near the phone.

I had trepidations about putting a magnet near a sensitive electronic device (magnets can erase hard drives), but I figured what the heck, let’s try it.

I grabbed a flat refrigerator magnet, fired up the compass app, slowly moved the magnet close to the right side of the case, and when it got about 1/8″ from the side of the case, BINGO—the interference message disappeared and the compass was working again! No problems with the phone that I can tell, and the compass is pointing in the right direction.

Now I can finally try that SkyView app I bought the other day.

5 thoughts on “iPhone Compass Interference Problem

  1. Thank for the magnet tip, it was driving me nuts.

    I didn’t want to restore the iphone yet again.

  2. Thanks so much for this tip. Both mine and my wife’s 3GS compass’ had stopped working for no obvious reason- we had some thunderstorms recently? Who knows… Anyway your fridge magnet tip worked a treat on both of them. Thanks again.

  3. Thanks for the idea. My compass stopped working a day or two after I got the phone and it has been bugging me since. The magnet solution worked! I would never have thought of it myself.

  4. Thank you for the tip with the magnet solution.

    With my iPhone 3GS it will last as long as the phone is not switched off.

    Do you have a permanent cure?


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