How to measure temperature with an iPhone or Android smartphone

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s to be more aware of our health and well-being, especially when interacting with those who may be ill. While checking the temperature with our phones is not a new trend, more and more people are looking for applications that will help them use their iPhone or Android smartphone in this way – as a thermometer. While the most common reason for this is to check your body’s temperature, other reasons for using your smartphone in this way are to measure the ambient indoor temperature of a room or the temperature of an object such as your coffee or tea.  

Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that not all apps for checking the temperature with your phone are going to be accurate. While the app store descriptions may say that they can measure the ambient temperature or give you an accurate reading of your skin temperature, this is not always the case. Most of the time, these apps only estimate the temperature rather than accurately measure it. In this article, we’ll cover some commonly asked questions on this topic, debunk thermometer apps on iPhone and Android, and give you some real solutions on how to accurately take your temperature using a smartphone.

Measuring ambient temperature or taking your body temperature with a smartphone is not as simple as it sounds.

Frequently Asked Questions: What you need to know

In this section, we will answer some commonly asked questions that pop up when trying to figure out whether you can accurately measure the temperature with your smartphone.

Can you really take your temperature with your smartphone?

The answer to this is a resounding yes, but it’s not as simple as just downloading an app. While there are many apps available that claim to measure temperature, most of these apps are only estimating the temperature rather than accurately measuring it.

This is because these apps typically rely on your phone’s internal temperature sensor, which picks up heat from the components inside the phone, mistaking the extra heat as part of the ambient temperature and thus giving you an inaccurate reading. On the other hand, apps that rely on GPS location to be turned on are simply grabbing the temperature from the phone’s built-in weather app and not actually measuring the current temperature of where you are.

Which smartphones have a built-in thermometer or infrared camera?

There have been a few smartphones created that do have internal sensors and infrared cameras built-in for measuring temperature. These models include:

Huawei Honor Play 4 Pro comes with an Infrared Temperature Sensor (IR) to measure the temperature of both humans and non-living objects. 

 Huawei Honor 4 Pro

The FISE 4G phone comes with an integrated infrared thermometer. 

The Blackview BV9700 PRO comes with the ability to measure indoor air quality and measure ambient temperature and humidity levels.

Can I measure temperature accurately with a free iPhone or Android smartphone app?

In all honesty, no. The best way to get an accurate reading of temperature is to purchase a digital thermometer or infrared camera accessory. There are equipment options that you can purchase that attach to your phone, such as the FLIR ONE Gen 3 or the CompactPRO XR, both of which provide thermal imaging. There are many other options available.

FlirONE Gen3 ifrared sensor for smartphones

How can I tell if an app is actually measuring temperature?

The best way to measure the accuracy of an app is by using it in conjunction with a reliable digital thermometer or infrared camera. Take the temperature of the room or object with the app, and then compare it to the reading you get from the digital thermometer or infrared camera. If there is a significant difference between the two readings, then it’s likely that the app is not providing an accurate reading.

If an app says it can accurately measure the temperature without a sensor, the app is lying. These apps use workarounds like your GPS to grab the temperature from the weather, which isn’t an accurate depiction of the ambient temperature in the room you’re standing in. 

Does my phone have a temperature sensor?

Yes, all smartphones come with built-in internal temperature sensors. However, these are not meant to measure the temperatures outside your phone. Rather, they are used to measure and keep track of the heat inside your smartphone, ensuring that the phone doesn’t overheat and cause damage to the components inside.

Debunking the “best” thermometer apps found on iPhone and Android app stores

If you search for “thermometer” in either the iPhone or Android app store, you’ll find numerous results – many of which claim to be the “best” thermometer app. But the truth is, most of these apps don’t take precise readings because they rely on your phone’s internal sensor or GPS.

Room Temperature Thermometer (Android)

It uses your GPS to grab nearby weather and then provides you with an estimate by offsetting the indoor temperature taken with the internal sensors with the outdoor temperature taken via weather data.

Thermometer++ (Android and iPhone)

This app is listed as a thermometer, but it doesn’t take accurate measurements of the temperature around you. Instead, it uses your GPS location to pull weather data from nearby weather stations. It is simply a glorified weather app.

Digital Thermometer (Android and iPhone)

Same as the two above. This app uses GPS location to grab nearby weather data to provide you with the outdoor temperature.

Thermometer by Monirapps (Android)

It uses automatic geolocation to grab the air temperature from outside. It’s essentially a weather application and not a real thermometer.

Thermometer Free (Android and iPhone)

This app is another electric thermometer that measures indoor and outdoor temperature through network and geolocation services. As with others on this list, you are not likely to get an accurate temperature reading.

How to measure temperature with your smartphone – The real solutions

If you want to accurately check the temperature with your phone, then you will need to use accessories like an external thermometer or an infrared camera that comes with an iPhone or Android smartphone app. Here are some fantastic solutions that can get the job done. 

Govee Temperature Monitor

Govee thermometer for measuring temperature with your smartphone

This temperature monitor attaches to your smartphone via Bluetooth and can measure the temperature of a room, track temperature over time, and measure humidity. They have several different options available, which you can see here.

SensorPush Thermometer  

SensorPush thermometer to check temperature with iPhone or Android smartphone

These are wireless sensors that connect to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth and can monitor temperature, humidity, and temperature conditions over time. It can also store temperature history. Works with their mobile apps and more information can be found here.

TempDrop Sensor & Smartphone App

TemDrop sensor for taking your body temperature with a phone

While this one is specifically designed around fertility tracking, the mobile application has a wearable sensor that you can use to monitor your basal body temperature. It captures minute changes in temperature, and the app charts this in a line graph. You can find out more about TempDrop here.

iCelsius App & Temperature Probe

iCelsius temperature probe to check and monitor temperature with a smartphone

If you’re looking for an all-around thermometer app, check out iCelsius. When paired with the iCelsius temperature probe, this app can measure body temperature and the temperature of liquids like tea, coffee, and baby formula. Check it out on Android and iPhone. Here’s their website with the probe accessories.

Kinsa Health – Thermometer & App

Kinsa Health thermometer accessory and smartphone app to take body temperature

This is a free thermometer application that pairs with the company’s smart digital thermometers, allowing you to keep track of temperature readings. It is touted as a health application, and you can find more information here.

While these are five fantastic solutions, honorable mentions also go to: 

  • Thermo (Android and iOS), which pairs with the Withings thermometer.
  • Infanttech (iOS), which pairs with the Smarttemp Bluetooth thermometer.
  • Temp Stick, a WiFi-enabled temperature and humidity sensor.


As you can see, there are many ways to check the temperature with your phone. Whether you need to measure the ambient temperature, the temperature of an object, or take your body temperature, there is a solution out there for you. Just remember, don’t waste your time with the “best” free thermometer apps that don’t work. Instead, get one of the real solutions above for accurate measurements.

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