The new Measure App released with iPhone iOS 12 – A review

September 26, 2018
Measuring Review
3 0
Apple iOS12 Measure app

Apple Measure App iOS 12

Today we are looking at the Apple Measure App for iPhone & iPad.  Normally the Laser Level Review looks at laser levels and other tools so this is a little different.  The Measure app that Apple has added in the iOS12 update.  Is it a gimmick? Or, is it something that could be useful for the professional or DIY weekend warriors!

This app becomes available with the iOS 12 update of September 2018, although, it does not automatically download.  You will need to head over to the app store and download it, it’s free.

There are two parts to the measure app, the measure and the level.  You switch between the two modes with the links found at the bottom of the app when it loads.


First I’ll cover the level function as its pretty much the same as the old iPhone level app supplied by Apple.  There are two levelling modes; a bullseye mode and a spirit level mode.  On Apple’s original app the design was very much replicating a real-world spirit level or bullseye vial.  Now it’s much more stylised.

To activate the bullseye vial simply place the iPhone on its back on the surface you want to check the level of such as a table.  You will see two stylised circles with a  reading in degrees in the centre.  When the table is level the background will turn green and 0 degrees is displayed.  This mode’s accuracy is partly dependent on the phone case you have but seems to be pretty accurate for general household applications and maybe on site if you have no other options available.

Bulls Eye Level Apple Measure App

For the spirit level mode place the phone on its long edge on the surface you want to check.  Again the type of case you have may effect the accuracy of your reading.  I have found the results to be pretty good but I would only recommend for small jobs around the house rather than important levelling on site.  So don’t throw out your spirit or digital level just yet.

Apple Measure App iOS 12 spirit level


This is the new feature. The first thing you notice when you enter into this mode is that the back camera activates and you see the image on the screen together with some instructions to move the camera around the area you want to measure.  Once the App has enough information from the image the command to move the camera around disappears.

Measuring App Starting Up

You will notice on the screen a go back/undo button, a clear button, a button with a plus sign and a camera circle button.  If you want to measure an object such as the chest in my image below, you will notice as you get closer a circle appears in the middle of the screen with a dot in its centre.  Locate this dot on the starting point you wish to measure and press the plus sign button.  Now you will see as you move the phone a measurement start to be drawn in real-time from this point.  Move the circle with a dot over the endpoint to your measurement and again press the plus sign button.  A solid line now appears on the image together with the measurement in the units you have set your phone to work in, in this case, it is in centimetres or metres.

Note that the closer you hold the camera to the object the more accurately you can locate the measuring points.  Also, you can edit the position of these points by touching the screen and shifting it with your finger.

Measure Point to Point Apple Measure App

As you will see in the example of the chest above the measurement provided by the App is 1.49m and the actual measurement is 1.53m.  I could have got this a little more accurate by performing a more accurate positioning of the dot but I don’t think it would have a much closer the actual measurement.

As you are using the App you can undo a measuring point by pressing the back arrow button or clear all points by pressing “Clear”.  Furthermore you can take an image of the measurement and add it to your camera roll.  This is done by pressing the circular camera button on the bottom right of the screen.

Multiple Measurements

You can take multiple measurements on the same image if you wish.  This is done by adding a third measuring point and moving the target circle/dot over to another point.  In the example of a table below, I set if over one of the previous measurement points and handily the App snaps to it to make it that bit easier.

Apple multiple measurements

Again as you can see the measurements are not perfect but again I could have made some of the points more accurately placed.

Square objects

There is another feature of the Apple Measure app when you aim the camera at a square object.  In this case, a picture frame, the App may (does not always) automatically recognise the object as being square.   It then snaps measurements for the width and height plus surface area directly onto it.  Sometimes it picks the edges pretty well such as the picture frame below.  Sometimes it does not, it’s a bit hit or miss.  One thing I noticed when auto-selecting a square object is that I can’t go back and readjust the measuring points exactly where I want them.

Measure square and area Apple Measure

In the example above the measurement were pretty close.


This is quite a clever App that Apple have developed which provides some useful functionality.  It’s the first release so Apple may refine the App as time goes on (this does not always occur) and so some of the buggy aspects I discovered may get cleaned up.

I was using this app on an iPhone8 and I found the measurements taken were not that super accurate.  However, if you take into consideration that it’s making these measurements based on optical observations via the camera, it’s not that bad.  At the end of the day though this should only be used for estimation purposes.  Do not cut your framing timber based on these results.  If you have an iPhone capable of utilising iOS12 then go ahead download it, have a play.   A situation may arrise when all you have to get an estimation of something is the phone in your pocket.  It’s not going to replace your tape measure or Laser Distance Measure but it could come in handy one day.

Have you tried this App on an iPhone X or the XS or XR or even an iPad?  If so let me know how you got on with it.  If you find any neat tricks for greater accuracy let us all know.


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