Proximity sensor on the phone: what is it and what is it for?

As the name suggests, a proximity sensor is a sensor capable of detecting the presence of objects or people nearby without the need for physical contact. Proximity sensors can be used in many fields, such as the automotive or construction industry, but in this material we will focus on telling you more about the proximity sensors mounted on mobile phones.

The proximity sensor mounted on your phone emits a beam of infrared electromagnetic radiation, which will constantly seek to detect any changes or presences in the field it covers.

Precisely because the proximity sensor does not need actual physical contact to be activated, this component of your phone has high reliability. In other words, the lifetime of the proximity sensor is very long.

If you were wondering how it can help you, it’s good to know that the proximity sensor will detect the fact that you brought the phone closer to your face and eliminate accidental pressing of the device’s touchscreen. In other words, when you answer or initiate a call and bring the phone closer to your ear, the proximity sensor will come into action and will not allow you to press the Hold button, various keys on the screen or abruptly end the call.

The proximity sensor will also take over, in certain situations, the task of recognizing the position in which the phone is located, but also that of “reading” gestures, if you have activated them for different functions.

Last but not least, the proximity sensor will extend the life of your phone by simply protecting its battery. If we compare the screen size of the first mobile phones with the ones we use today, there is no doubt that smartphones consume much more energy. The proximity sensor will turn off the screen whenever you don’t need it, even though you’re using the device, for example when you’re talking on the phone.

Generally, mobile phone manufacturers mount the proximity sensor on the top of the smartphones, on the right, near the selfie camera. So, because you activate it unintentionally, the proximity sensor will not allow you to swipe on the phone screen during a call. If you want to enter the smartphone menu, you will have to notice the position from which the proximity sensor is activated and avoid it by sliding an idea below it.

If when you are talking on the phone your calls are suddenly cut off or you have trouble maintaining conversations due to the fact that you accidentally press your face on the screen, most likely a visit to a phone service could get rid of these inconvenience.

Which phones have a proximity sensor?

Most phones these days use an infrared-based proximity sensor, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Apple or Samsung or Huawei phones, because they all have a proximity sensor API. As a small detail that you might find interesting, Apple first fitted a proximity sensor in 2007, when it launched the first iPhone model. From then until today, all Apple phones have come bundled with this sensor, meant to help you.

The even better news is that all proximity sensors manage to adjust automatically, except those fitted to the following models:

 Samsung Galaxy Note 2
 Samsung Galaxy Note 3
 Samsung Galaxy S3
 Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
 Samsung Galaxy S4
 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

So, you won’t need to do anything at all to enjoy the functions of a proximity sensor, which is an element that almost all phones come equipped with from the factory.

How do you check if the proximity sensor is active on your phone?

If you are not the first owner of the smartphone you are now holding in your hand, and if the people you use to talk to on the phone keep complaining that you press the keys during conversations, it is time to check whether the proximity sensor is working properly or not .

To do this, it is enough to gently wipe the top area of the phone. If you use it, it’s good to carefully clean the phone case too, especially in the upper part, near the speaker, where the proximity sensor is located.

On the net you will find a lot of other instructions that promise you that you will succeed in resetting or canceling the proximity sensor, but they are no longer valid for today’s smartphones, so you will be wasting your time.

If you still have problems with the proximity sensor, we suggest you take the phone to a service or send the device for warranty, if it is still valid.

How can you disable the proximity sensor?

Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately for the health of your phone, you cannot disable the proximity sensor. However, if it’s not working properly and giving you problems, here’s how you can “recalibrate” it.

Give your phone a hard reset. Press and hold the volume button and simultaneously the power button of the device until the manufacturer’s logo appears on the screen. Once turned on, you can check if the proximity sensor has recalibrated or if a trip to service is needed to solve the problem encountered.

Don’t forget that the proximity sensor is there to help you and extend the life of your phone. When you hold the phone to your ear, the proximity sensor will dictate the device’s screen to turn off, which will save its battery power.