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December 2, 2023

How to measure altitude on your iPhone

Khamosh Pathak / How-To Geek

If you’re traveling, you might be curious about the altitude of where you are. Altitude can tell you a lot about the weather and living conditions. Here’s how you can measure altitude on your iPhone.

Before we begin, a word on the difference between altitude and elevation. While people use them interchangeably, they have slightly different meanings.

According to Dictionary.com, altitude is defined as the height of an object or place “above a given planetary reference plane, especially above sea level on earth.” Similarly, the website defines elevation as the height to which something is elevated or rises, above sea level or ground level. The main difference here is that altitude is always calculated from sea level.

If you just want to measure the height of a place where you are, you can simply use the Compass app on your iPhone. It has a built-in elevation function.

RELATED: How to measure elevation on your iPhone

To measure altitude, use the free My Altitude app. The app uses both your device’s built-in barometer sensors and NOAA location data to provide accurate data.

Once you open the app, allow the app to access location services, so it can determine your exact location. You will now see the altitude at the top of the screen. You can tap it to switch between metric and imperial units.

If you have a newer iPhone (iPhone 6 and later), the app will use your device’s sensor to determine your altitude (it’s more accurate). But you can also see data from the NOAA database.

Tap the “Data Files” tab in the lower right corner.

Tap the Data Files tab

Since this is your first time using this feature, the app will prompt you to download the data file for the region. Tap the “Yes” button.

Tap the Yes button from the popup

You will see a map divided into a grid layout. Find your current region and tap it to download NOAA data.

Select the region

You will see another confirmation popup for downloading the data file. Here, tap the “Yes” button again.

Tap Yes to confirm

In a couple of seconds, the data file will be loaded into the app. Again, tap the “Data Files” tab at the bottom of the app’s home screen.

All sections will remain the same, but the data will now go to the NOAA database.

The altitude shown by the data file

You can tap the “Device Sense” button again to go back.

This is just one of many hidden features in iOS. Check out our list of hidden iPhone features to learn more.

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