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What can you do with a barometer on a smartphone?

Last Updated: 29.11.21


We all have an amateur meteorologist inside of us; it is the reason we all seem to be so fascinated with the weather, primarily since it plays such a huge role in our life. You can’t always carry a barometer or a quality anemometer with you, especially as they are rather hefty.

What few people know is that Apple and Android smartphones can feature a barometric sensor. This nifty sensor might be a lot smaller than what most people are used to, but advancement in technology means that even these miniature instruments can work just as good, and offer readings that are just as accurate.

Benefit from precise weather forecasts

So how could this sensor transform the way you use your smartphone? Since the main usage of a barometer is to try and make accurate short-term weather forecast, this is the primary use that you will get out of it on your phone. Even then, the ways in which it can improve your life are huge, and we are going to explore them below.

If you are like any other person on the planet, you rely heavily on your smartphone’s weather app. You may even keep your favorite weather app as a widget so that you can always have it available at the swipe of a finger. The bad thing is that unless you can afford to update it regularly, your app might not be as reliable as you may have thought.


Save on battery and data plans

Most apps on the market today will allow you to set just how often it will check and update the weather forecast. Most people choose the default options which are generally set to update once every four or five hours. This is the golden ratio that allows you to get fairly accurate forecasts without affecting the battery life too much.

Checking more frequently can drastically drain your battery, and it can even chew up on your data. If you have a strict data plan, you wouldn’t want the weather app to use all of it. It might not seem much at first, but when added up, you would be surprised to learn just how much background data such an app can use.

Don’t get caught off guard

There’s also another scenario that you should consider for a second. Imagine that you are at home or at your office and you plan to go out and run for a quick lunch. You open your favorite app, and you notice that it says that there will be a storm in just 2 or 3 hours. Certainly, enough time not to worry about taking your umbrella or coat.

The thing is that if you have set your app only to update every four to three hours, the moment you’ve looked at the screen, the data was already old. Since then, the cold-weather front began to move faster than anticipated, and you could find yourself caught in a rainstorm that you never expected.

With the help of a barometer, the app could use the extra data and communicate with the weather application. So when the drop in barometric pressure happens, the sensor could trigger a request to update the forecast data. This will allow you to save your battery and data usage by only updating when the weather changes.

With a weather app that can be programmed to use the barometric sensor built into your phone, you could have avoided getting caught in that rain.


Stay tuned anywhere you are

There’s also another obvious usage that you can get from this sensor. If you are a person that likes to hike in the foothills and mountains, you could find yourself in a very remote area which is outside of data and cellular voice coverage. Instead of relying on outdated information, the top of the range barometer sensor in your phone could notify when the weather is about to change for the worst.

What’s more, even if you have an older phone that does not have the latest sensors, there is still something you can do to enjoy the benefits of a barometer. You can now buy many USB gadgets that can be attached to your smartphone. You can now have all kinds of sensors on your phone, from quality ph meters to altimeters and more.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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