Utilizing Your Smartphone as a Barometer and Altimeter


Did you know that your smartphone can be transformed into a handy barometer or altimeter? This not only helps you monitor atmospheric pressure but also assists in tracking altitude during hikes and outdoor adventures. In this article, we’ll explore how to use your phone as a barometer or altimeter using the “Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite” app available for both Android and iOS.

Step 1: Download the Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite App

To get started, visit Google Play Store or Apple App Store and search for “Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite.” It’s a free app packed with numerous sensors to measure various data, including acceleration, angular velocity, temperature, sound intensity, and more. Once found, download and install it on your smartphone.

Step 2: Access the Barometer Function

After installation, open the Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite app. You’ll see an interface showcasing all the available sensors. Look for the “Pressure” sensor and tap on it to access the barometer function.

Step 3: Start Measuring Atmospheric Pressure

Once the Pressure sensor is activated, your smartphone will begin measuring atmospheric pressure in units of millibars (mbar). You may view real-time data in various formats like digital readings, analog meters, or graphs. The app allows you to record measurements for future reference or export them in formats such as CSV or TXT files.

Step 4: Convert Your Device into Altimeter

With the barometric pressure data captured by your smartphone, it’s now possible to use it as an altimeter. Navigate back to the main menu of Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite and tap on “Altimeter.” The app uses the detected atmospheric pressure to estimate your altitude above sea level (in meters).

Step 5: Calibrate Your Altimeter

To increase its accuracy, you should calibrate the altimeter using information about your current altitude. You can find such information on the internet or GPS devices. Once you have the reference altitude, tap on “Calibration” within the Altimeter sensor and enter the value. The app will adjust as per your input and provide more accurate altitude readings.


In just a few simple steps, you can turn your phone into a barometer or altimeter, making it an ideal tool for enthusiasts who love trekking or exploring nature. While it’s crucial to keep in mind that smartphones’ sensors may not be as accurate as specialized equipment, they certainly provide valuable data that comes in handy during outdoor activities. So, go ahead and give it a try!