How to Use iPhone 6s as a Scale to Weigh Items

Dec 12, 2015 - 19 Comments

Measuring weight of items with an iPhone scale

The 3D Touch display on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is able to detect pressure applied to the screen in order to serve the 3D Touch pop and peek functions, but with the help of a little third party web app you can transform the iPhone and 3D Touch display into a fairly precise scale.


Turning the 3D Touch equipped iPhone into a scale measurable down to hundredths of a gram is simple and you don’t even need to download anything:

  1. Go to the scale webpage from the iPhone with 3D Touch display
  2. Lay the iPhone down on a flat and steady surface, then place a metal spoon or something similar* onto the screen – the items rough weight should appear on screen but you’ll be using this to hold other items to weigh, thus hit the “Tare” button to zero out the scale to “0” with the spoon on the screen
  3. Now place your item(s) to weigh in the spoons cup to see that items weight

In this example, a USB thumb drive is being weighed:

iPhone 3D Touch scale

You’ll find the results are quite accurate as long as you’re delicate, and the weight measurement is offered down to hundredths of a gram all the way up to 385 grams, the maximum amount of weight it can detect.

In this example, a piece of black anthracite is being weighed:

Measuring weight of items with an iPhone scale

* For best results, find a spoon that is somewhat flat on the bottom so that it doesn’t roll around or move much. Also, be as delicate as possible when placing items into the spoon to weigh, if the spoon moves at all or rolls around, you’ll quickly discover the weight of the spoon becomes included in the weight of the item and the measurement is way off. You need to use a metal item so that it is conductive, things like plastic, wood, cloth, and paper won’t register on the touch screen.

If you have adjusted your 3D Touch screen sensitivity settings you may find the screen is a little more or less sensitive to this app, so consider changing it to the middle setting if it’s all over the place.

Turn the iPhone into a scale that measures down to hundredths of a gram

This is a fun proof of concept but it can be a little finicky, so you probably shouldn’t plan on using this for anything serious, whether in the kitchen as it could likely botch a recipe (it said 2 grams of jalapeno powder, I swear!), and especially so if you’re trying to be a Walter White or Pablo Escobar.

Anyway, since there are no downloads required and it’s as easy as loading a web page onto the iPhone, it’s fun to play around with.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

19 Comments

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  1. Amazing says:

    This is every high schoolers dream come true

    Finally, your iPhone can weigh your …. french fries …. to be sure they are accurately weighed and you are getting your moneys worth.

  2. Tom says:

    @Amazing… Well played, Sir.

  3. John T says:

    Unfortunately, if you have one of those stiff glass screens protecting your phone screen, this trick won’t work, even at the light setting.

    • drums says:

      I’m using a plastic screen shield protector and it works fine

      • Gsus says:

        i have a super hard glass screen on my iphone 6s+ i have dropped it so much and nothing but a tiny tiny chip in the bottom corner and it fell on hard floor. i tried to measure it on mine with that kind of glass screen and i had no luck either even with settings on low. bummer i dont want to take it off but i want to try itttttt

  4. Wharf Xanadu says:

    I could use this for measuring my baking cookies

  5. Tbil says:

    This is amazing to drug dealers

  6. Patty Fraser says:

    Perhaps you could use it to weigh mail to see if extra postage is required?

  7. Joan Malagarriga says:

    Somehow is the sensitivity different depending on the object. Haven’t tried a spoon yet, but with a glass light bulb I get no weight reading no matter if I press further on the bulb. On the other side with my finger I can get readings from about 1 gram to 385 grams.

    Could it be, that 3D touch has to first detect that something is actually touching the screen to start working? In a way to prevent 3D-Touch to drain your batteries while the phone is somewhere below a pile of books !!!

    • ITMa says:

      It has nothing to do with the weight, it must conduct electricity. The touch screen of iPhones requires that something capacitive (conducting) is touching the screen to activate, which is why a light bulb, glass, plastic, wood, paper, etc won’t register anything regardless of pressure or weight, but your skin and metal, or a stylus built for the purpose, does work to activate the touch screen. This carries over to the scale as well and 3d Touch as well. The same with all touch screens, that’s just how they work, they detect the subtle electrical current.

      • Jason says:

        Pedantic alert: not all touch screens work this way. You’re describing capacitive touch screens, that measure electrical interference on an invisible grid on your screen.

        The old kind that you needed to push on were called resistive, where you had to physically push on the screen enough to make two parts touch (normally the screen layers was held apart by microscopic clear beads or a gel.

        I wish people who sat in the chairs behind me on airplanes understood that when they bang their fingers into the screen in my headrest – that the reason the screen isn’t registering their touch is that their hands are dry… they do not need to push harder. :(

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchscreen

        • Gsus says:

          the latter were my favorite for typing on the smart phone by far. it was like a key press with that click feeling it gave. makes me hot just reminiscin about it.

  8. denswor says:

    this photoset look uncompleted without spoon with heroin…

    is there any junkies with iphone6s? )

  9. Gaey says:

    Do one have to use a spoon?

  10. Cheesesteak says:

    ZOMG Paul’s gonna do ten grams of heroin it seems…with his snazzy iScale 6s plus!

    📲 💉 ☠

  11. Wharf Xanadu says:

    The app for El Chapo Jr

  12. david smith says:

    where do I find the Scale app?

  13. Noelle says:

    This didn’t work for me. I opened the link placed a cup on it and the weight didn’t change. But the weight changed when I laid my finger on it. iPhone screens are sensitive to human touch (heat sensitive) that’s why if you use gloves to type it won’t type and you have to get the special made iPhone gloves to be able to type while wearing gloves. Can you please explain how you were able to place a spoon on the phone without having your finger touch it to have the screen recognize the items weight?

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