Can phones detect EMF?

Paranormal investigators believe that electro-magnetic fields (EMF) can indicate the presence of a spirit, which is why EMF meters are commonly used on paranormal investigations. But what is EMF? How is it measured? Can phones actually be used to detect EMF as claimed by paranormal app developers? In this article we explain about the inner workings of GhostTube and how we use the modern technology in phones on investigations.



What is EMF?

Magnetic fields are created in a few ways, such as by by the flow of an electric charge or from a magnetic material. They are responsible for many of the effects we associate with magnets, such as attraction and repulsion. On the other hand, electromagnetic fields (EMF) are created by the flow of electric charge and are characterized by both an electric field and a magnetic field, hence how the two are related. Although moving electric currents generally produce an EMF that consist of both an electric field and a magnetic field, static electricity, on the other hand, only consists only of an electric field and won't produce a magnetic field.

Paranormal investigators believe that unexplained EMF can indicate the presence of a spirit, which is why EMF meters are commonly used on paranormal investigations.

Can phones detect EMF?

A magnetometer is a sensor found in most phones to measure the strength and direction of the magnetic fields. It works by measuring tiny changes in a magnetic field, providing an indication of orientation relative to the Earth's magnetic north. This allows apps to know whatever direction a phone camera is pointing and thus helps apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps with navigation, but it can also be used to detect fluctuations in magnetic energy.

In general, a mobile phone's magnetometer can also detect the presence of  electromagnetic fields (EMF). This is because the magnetometer is designed to measure the strength and direction of any magnetic field, regardless of its origin. So if a magnetic field is caused by an EMF source, for example, the phone's magnetometer will be able to detect it. The phone's magnetometer is not able to detect static electricity though, as these types of electric fields are not accompanied by magnetic fields, so if you need to detect static electricity you will require additional hardware.



Which apps can be used to detect EMF?

GhostTube uses raw readings from the magnetometer in your device to measure magnetic fields, regardless of its origin. Because electromagnetic fields consist of both an electric field and a magnetic field, this means that GhostTube is able to indirectly detect the the presence of an electromagnetic field. The great thing about GhostTube is that it is able to be downloaded and used on your paranormal investigations for free, whereas an EMF meter can cost upwards of $80 or more. 

However, it's worth noting that the sensitivity of the magnetometer may vary depending on the specific phone model and the application being used, and some devices don't have a magnetometer at all. GhostTube automatically calibrates the magnetometer when the app is first launched to take into account the natural level of magnetic field in the environment you are investigating and the sensitivity of your magnetometer, and we use other sensors if a magnetometer is not available (though some features such as the EMF reader require a magnetometer). In addition, the magnetometer will also detect magnetic fields that are not caused by EMF, for example, that of a magnetic field generated by a magnetic material - just hold GhostTube next to an everyday refrigerator magnet and you will see it react. This is obviously not caused by an EMF and is not paranormal. For this reason, we always encourage investigators to be aware of their surroundings while using GhostTube on an investigation and appropriately try to debunk any readings that may be caused by something explainable such as nearby metals, electronics and other magnetic objects.


Download GhostTube

GhostTube can be downloaded for free:

Back to blog