Nokia 8 compass not working since Android 9.0 Pie update

HMD Global, the Finnish smartphone company, is widely known for reviving the iconic Nokia brand. After the not-so-good acquisition by Microsoft and follow-up retirement, HMD started to produce feature phones as well as Android powered smartphones under the ‘Nokia’ brand name.

And boy, they did bring the old vive back! Within a year or so, they managed to secure the ninth (9th) position in top 10 smartphone manufacturers in terms of shipment. According to a study, HMD shipped 17.5 million Nokia smartphones during 2018, with a year-over-year growth of 126%!

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Before switching their entire portfolio to Android One in 2018, HMD released four phones running nearly vanilla Android. While Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 should be considered as low/mid rangers, the Nokia 8 was the true flagship in terms of hardware config.

Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, up to 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, Nokia 8 featured Zeiss optimized dual 13 MP rear cameras. The selfie camera sensor (13 MP) also Zeiss techs.

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Nokia 8

The phone was initially launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, but quickly got Android Oreo (8.0 and 8.1) via OTA update after a short beta testing.

Nokia/HMD eventually rolled out Android 9.0 update for their 2017 flagship. Initial distribution started from December 2018, while Indian models got the final build in February 2019 due to VoLTE related issues.

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While the Pie update introduced plethora of new features, it effectively disrupted the internal compass sensor of Nokia 8. Several users have reported about wrong compass readings and/or weird behavior of the sensor since the Pie OTA update.

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Same here, compass is not working correctly, it’s showing east when I point to north etc.
Recalibration made things even worse, now it seems to be swapped by 180 degrees.

(Source)

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Interestingly, downgrading to Oreo perfectly restored the full functionality of the compass.

I also had problems with the compass after I upgraded to pie. It was 180 degrees wrong and recalibrating did not help in any way. Also tried multiple apps which claimed they could solve the problem (not!). After downgrading to Oreo the compass worked immediately again. I hope they will solve this problem soon!

(Source)

It is worth noting that the GPS sensor itself is working fine and can connect with satellites. But the magnetic compass sensor fails to show the directions.

Face up (so “normal”) both show the same (known) faulty behaviour, but face down the directions differ (more or less mirrored to an axis yet to be defined?)! I add some pictures where you can see this: the big app in the background is GPSTest (grey triangle = north), the small window is GPS Status (red arrow = north)

(Source)

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Notice the 180 degree flip

My device is TA-1004. I tried everything I could and did not help. I’ve deleted apps using location, installed apps for compass calibration, but compass is still rotated 180 degrees. This is definitely the firmware bug that happened after the Pie update. I believe that the developers in Nokia will fix this bug soon, because the navigation during the walk shows that you are moving in the opposite direction.

(Source)

The in-built servicing mode (*#*#372733#*#*) reportedly shows improper status regarding the status of the compass.

I ran the *#*#372733#*#* test and got odd results. The selfie camera failed, but it takes perfect pictures. The compass passed, but the test starts with a red circle with a black “hand” twitching all over the place. If that is the test they run, then we are veritably screwed.

(Source)

Official Nokia support continues to promise about future bugfix update, but the issue is still at large – even after March security patch.

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I did chat with Support after installing March SP, they did pretty fast admit that this proble exists, but the same promise thah a fix is worked on and will be released sometime, but no timeframe given.

(Source)

As a matter of fact, the support people are allegedly repeating the same set of words since January (and I’m not surprised at all!). Having a flagship with a fundamental feature broken is not a pleasant experience for consumers.

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Yet another generic reply

Nearly 4 months has passed after the Pie update, but Nokia has not released any official statement about this major anomaly. We have contacted eminent Nokia community member-cum-modder Hikari Calyx for inputs – hope he will be able to supply us some insider information soon.

Have you faced the aforementioned compass problems in your Nokia 8? Comment below.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.