Measure: The Free Tape Measure/Ruler in Your iPhone!

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There comes a time in our lives when we wish we had a tape measure or a scale handy. And we do not! It could be a task as simple as measuring the length of a log or just finding the rough size and dimensions of a piece of furniture that we are thinking of picking up. The solution inevitably is to ask around or use a rough measure (one’s palms or rough palm to elbow length and so on). Well, we have news for you — if you have an iPhone updated to iOS 12, you will ALWAYS have a tape measure or scale with you.

Making this possible is a lot of AR wizardry and an app called, rather appropriately, Measure. And like the best things in life, this one too is free. In fact, if you have iOS 12 on your iPhone, chances are that the Measure app is already on your phone.

Using it is extremely simple. Here is how you go about it:

  1. Choose what you need to measure. Try to place it in isolation — do not crowd too many things around it. And then launch the app (duh!)

2. You might have to move the iPhone a little to calibrate the app. When it is ready, you will see a circle with a dot in the middle of it appear on the display. This is a bit like a focus point — it is used to mark out the areas you wish to measure.

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3. In some cases, especially in the case of squares and rectangles, the app will automatically recognise the shape and place a “virtual frame” around the object. All you have to do in these cases is hit the “+” button at the base of the app for the app to display the length and width of the object.

4. If the app does not recognise the object automatically, move the focus point to the place from where you wish to start the measurement and then hit the “+” sign. Then move the point of focus to the place where you want the measurement to end.

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5. The app will create a yellow dotted line from the point of origin, and will keep displaying the length even as you keep moving — just remember it can only measure in a straight line (no circular measurements, sorry). Once you have reached the final point, hit “+” again and you will see the final measurement.

6. The app shows the measurement in both inches and centimetres. Tapping on the numbers will show you the numbers in a larger font and in both units. You can copy measurements and even take a screenshot of the area or object you have measured.

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7. That easy. And yes, it is totally free.

A word of caution: this is not a super accurate way of measuring the size of an object but is more than adequate in a situation where every millimetre does not matter. For instance, it can be handy enough to figure out if a bag or object is large or small enough to go as cabin baggage on a flight — keep room for error of about half a centimetre or a centimetre. Also do not try to measure very small distances, like the width of a magazine, for instance, as the app can sometimes not quite work as well there.

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Traveller’s tip: Though the Measure app is mainly for measuring distances or objects, it also has a “level” feature. It can be accessed from the right hand side of the base of the measure app (it says “level” there). Start Level and place the phone on any surface and you will be told whether the surface is perfectly level or flat (zero degrees) and if not, by what measure it is not (how many degrees in which direction). Cool, eh?

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