Proximity sensor

What is a proximity sensor?

A proximity sensor is a sensor which can tell when there are nearby objects without any physical contact.

Proximity sensors in smartphones are mainly used to avoid accidental taps during calls – they detect when someone is holding their phone near their face during a call and turns off the display to prevent accidental keypad presses. They also limit battery consumption from the display during calls.

What do proximity sensors do?

As well as safeguarding against any accidental taps during phone and video calls, proximity sensors can also be used to recognise air gestures such as swipes and hovering.

They’re also useful for saving battery power – the proximity sensor will work out when your phone’s in your pocket and will send a message to the processor telling it to turn off the screen.

Do all smartphones have proximity sensors?

All recent smartphones have proximity sensors - both Android and iOS systems have an API which supports them.

Can I turn off my phone’s proximity sensor?

You can't turn off the proximity sensor on iPhone. If you're having issues with it, there are steps you can take to ensure it works properly, like replacing an improperly-fitted phone case, cleaning off dirt or keeping it updated so any software issues are solved.

If you have an Android device, you can turn off the proximity sensor if you need to - but we would advise that you keep it turned on to conserve battery power and to avoid any accidental taps during calls.

 

Person touching a screen