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iOS 7.03 fixes iPhone 5S sensor problems, ‘sensor-gate’ is over

Image Credit: Apple
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The iOS 7.03 update that Apple released today completely fixes Apple’s iPhone 5S sensor problems.

As I reported early this month, Apple’s flagship iPhone 5S — and 5C — were experiencing significant sensor malfunctions. In my testing, they were consistently 2 degrees to 3 degrees off, and others had significantly worse results. Those issues had real-world implications, as many games depend on the phone’s sensors to indicate when a player wants to turn or move.

Today a little bird (who works at Apple) told me to check the ReadMe file for today’s Apple mobile operating system update, iOS 7.03. That same bird, who couldn’t or wouldn’t comment on “sensor-gate” earlier, was giving me a broad hint which I didn’t understand until a few moments ago, when I lined up all the iPhones in my possession to test the devices’ sensors post-iOS 7.03.

The upshot is that Apple has fixed sensor-gate. And here’s the proof:

iPhone 5S, 5C, 5

The far phone is my iPhone 5, reading .2 degrees off level. I haven’t yet update it to iOS 7.03. The middle phone, the iPhone 5S, is upgraded to 7.03, and now reads .1 degrees off level. That’s an acceptably minor degree of error, if it is, or a tiny variation in the surface of table they’re both sitting on, due to their slightly different positions. The nearest iPhone is Apple’s iPhone 5C, which I have not yet updated to 7.03, and it is still displaying the kind of error that the iPhone 5S was experiencing before the software update.

Apologies for the blurry photo — I was running out of photo-taking devices, and the Nokia Lumia 1020 in the background was out of battery, so I had to take the shot with my iPad 2′s inferior camera.

Just a week or so ago, a tiny 3D-sensing software company released a fix for iPhone’s errors which allowed developers to apply a correction algorithm in their own apps. At the time, I wondered whether Apple would incorporate it into iOS, so that developers wouldn’t have to do even that small amount of work for hundreds if not thousands of apps.

Clearly, Apple has.

I assume the fix is good for iPhone 5C as well, and will be updating that phone shortly to ensure that it is.

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