Can I Use My Phone As A Metal Detector

I was curious to see if my smartphone could detect metal hidden beneath layers of clothing. So I tested several apps. Here’s what I learned.

If you own an iPhone or iPad, there’s no better way to find lost treasures than using Metal Detector Pro. By downloading the app onto your device, you can search through any global location. The app has many options, but the primary function remains the same. Hold down the screen until the “Searching…” message appears at the display’s top left corner.

Then tap anywhere on the map to begin searching. Once you locate something interesting, drag the marker over the item and wait for the green dot to indicate its exact position. Tap again once you’re done; the app will tell you exactly where it was located.

There are tons of apps available for both iPhone and iPad users, but there aren’t many dedicated to the Android operating system.

Do Phone Metal Detectors Really Work?

Smartphone apps work much like traditional metal detectors. They measure the electromagnetic field surrounding your device and detect any change in that field caused by metallic objects nearby. These devices rely upon ” compasses ” sensors that allow phones to determine direction. Because these compasses were initially built into cellphones, they can often pick up subtle variations in Earth’s magnetic field.

The types of metal it might detect are certainly not in the range of metals you’d expect from a full-sized metal detector. The phone will only sense magnetic metals like iron, cobalt, nickel, and steel.

Metal Detector Pro app claims to detect metal objects near cell phones using magnetism. However, there has been no scientific evidence proving that the app works.

In a test run by CNET, its AI picked up objects like paperclips, a leatherman multi-tool, and a metal screw but didn’t pick up anything else. Its failure to identify jewelry was probably because no images of rings, bracelets, or necklaces were available for training.

How Does The Application Function?

I downloaded the iPhone version of the metal detector app, set my settings, and moved the phone around until I got a strong signal.

In addition to being able to adjust the distance at which notifications sound, there is another way to silence the alarm altogether: turn off Bluetooth entirely. There are plenty of apps available that allow users to do just that, including iBeacon Pro ($2), Beacon Alert ($1), and Beep Detector Free ($0).


An electronic metal detecting device will locate items like coins, jewelry, bullets, and tools. However, finding valuable treasures is unlikely. If you accidentally step on a rusty nail or drive a screw into the lawn, it could ruin your shoes or hurt yourself. An eMID will alert you to these hazards before they happen.

People said they had trouble using apps since they triggered too many alerts. They thought the presence of metal property stakes could possibly cause the issue.

Apple App Store reviews often contain comments such as:

  • It’s surprisingly effective
  • I’m amazed that it works, but it does
  • I found my property line iron pin
  • It works, but only for magnets
  • Found rebar in 8′ concrete wall

There were fewer negative reviews than expected, stating the app doesn’t work, it beeps all the time, and it is not useful.

Jason Smith

I am a Marine who now works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, and coffee, soaking in hot springs or in my hot tub.

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