Active Sonar Utilities App Review (iOS, Free)


Languages: English

Seller: Apptomic LLC

-Per customer reviews I have moved the ad banner.
-Improved range finding.
-Fixed some small bugs.

Please write a review if you suggestions on how to improve this app.

Customer Ratings

Current Version:
11697 Ratings
All Versions:
13088 Ratings


Top 100 overall in 48 countries!
Top 10 overall in 17 countries!

-Instantly measure distances with high frequency sonic pulses
-Color coded echo location display
-Simple easy to use interface
-US and Metric units configurable

Bats navigate through the night air by emitting high frequency sonic pulses and listening for echoes. Submarines use a similar technique to determine the distance and location of underwater targets. Now you can have bat-like vision on your iPhone with Active Sonar!!

Active Sonar emits a high frequency sonic pulse and listens for echoes that that bounce off of objects. The distance the echo has traveled is instantly computed and graphically displayed in a color coded format showing the distance and strength of the echo. Active Sonar will allow you to instantly and accurately measure the distance to objects, such as a wall, up to 12 feet away.

How does Active Sonar work?
Once Active Sonar emits a high frequency sonic pulse, any return echoes that bounce off of objects are detected using iPhone’s built-in microphone. The amount of time that has elapsed from emitting the sonic pulse to detecting the return echo is used to calculate the distance the sonic pulse has traveled. Given the know speed of sound at a particular room temperature (approximately 1125 ft/s), the distance the sonic pulse has traveled can be computed by multiplying the speed of sound by the amount of time the sound has been traveling. Using this calculation, Active Sonar instantly computes the precise distance the echo has traveled.

Active Sonar is easy to use!
Step 1: Turn up the volume.
Step 2: Point iPhone’s built-in speaker at an object.
Step 3: Turn on Active Sonar.

Following these three simple steps will enable you to see with bat-like vision!!

-Only measure objects more than 2.5 feet away from the iPhone
-Noisy environments can interfere with measurement accuracy
-Please read the instructions in the app by touching the info button just above the on button

Customer Reviews

  • Haha

    by Svkvagzvzchbfgvc


  • Grate App

    by Gokor77

    Grate App

  • Excellent tech demo

    by HannouHeiki

    People need to understand this more a tech demo than a precise tool. A tech demo shows what is possible and lays groundwork for future technology. I think the demonstration is awesome and is an innovative program that will serve as a foundation for things to come.

  • Works

    by Ksquared1510

    App works as intended minus the temp and metric. Used an actual tape measure as a base measurement. Don't forget to take into account where the speaker is because that is where the accuracy lies. iPhone 4S 4.5 inches long or .375 ft placed flat facing wall 12 ft away will get reading of 11.625 or 11.63 because the measurement on app rounds up.

  • Great! But with a bug!

    by Dima Kolyvai

    Developer 5+ you are great! But there is a bug when changing temperature and to metric units. (I use a converter: GlobeConvert Free, great app)

  • Very cool!

    by MasPollo

    It works well! It does have bugs in the settings: if I change the temperature or metric settings the app crashes. Please fix this as I really could use the metric units! Oh, and I recommend a new icon so that less people are confused.

  • Very cool

    by I don't want a Nickmame

    To the developer: I'm impressed To those of you that think it doesn't work: I downloaded this app because from time to time, I need some reassurance that I AM surrounded by idiots.

  • Great app - don't be fooled by idiots

    by Sailbad the sinner...

    This is a great app. It DOES work. The complainers have no clue about basic physics. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but you can't be a moron either. If you are trying to measure the distance to a penny from 50' away, it won't work. Use a real world scenario like basic room dimensions and it's great. Get it and play with it!

  • Cool idea

    by Squako

    It's not highly accurate but amazing they pulled this off. It is real right?

  • Works great on the 4S!

    by luky22

    I am measuring short distances, like 5 and 2 ft. It is very very close! Highly recommend.

  • Ok

    by Jose luis urdaneta

    Bueno para medir distancias no muy exactas solo de referencia

  • Works okay. Could be better

    by JackBond1234

    It picks up sound too faintly to get a good read. Also it's pretty impractical.

  • I had my doubts

    by amoose136

    This app is very impressive. Granted the the hardware is limited but the app makes use of what there is. The spectra graph the important part to me. Note to developer: to shut up the whiners who complain about not having a circle graph next time just take polar data by using the compass and convert to rectangle form and graph to create a 2d map of a room and thus make a classic "circle graph" like in the app icon.

  • Works!

    by Ziwcam

    At least, on an iPhone 3GS. Start button is sometimes slow to respond for me, other than that a fun app for distance approximations. Tested against a measuring tape and it was surprisingly accurate!

  • Could use improvement

    by Tabby908

    This is a nice app, but isn't always accurate. But it would be nice if it was like a real sonar in the sense that it would be a circular display and you could use the compass or accelerometer to tell when you turned the iPhone/iPod and how fast. Other than that, it is a unique app.

  • Interesting demonstration of acoustic physics

    by gwydion04

    Limited by the iPhone's hardware, but still useful!

  • Great!

    by haakondahl

    Wait for the button, shield against floor/ceiling echoes, and enjoy! For a free, small app, this is perfect.

  • Well it kinda works

    by Player 121

    It's ok but I'm looking for a real sonar so if your looking for 1 to this isn't the app to get it's nothing like the first pic at the top of the page

  • It sure does work

    by Greg L

    All I can say is I am an engineer, have a 3GS, and it works quite nicely. It is way-fun to watch.

  • It does work

    by christophelus

    Considering the iPhone's hardware and software limitations, don't expect a scientific instrument. But it does work surprisingly well. Read and follow the instructions. I did not expect it to work as well as it did. Four stars for it's ability, user interface and the fact that it's free. For how well it works, I wonder how much it can be improved upon.

  • Great Concept but useless on iPhone 5.

    by TuningInandOut

    The general idea is great. Unfortunately this app does not work at all on an iPhone 5. Even under the most ideal conditions, the numbers you receive jump all over the place constantly. Oh well.

  • Needs update for iOS 7

    by ShootAnyAngle

    App crashes when trying to adjust temperature. This is such a great idea. I do have a few suggestions that would be cool. Would it be possible to have a different view option? More like a top view forward looking radar screen instead of a side scrolling view. Also integrating a small compass would be handy as well. Would there be any way to boost the sound volume output to extend the range? Is there anyway to have some kind of low frequency band pass filtering to eliminate background noise from interfering? How about using the accelerometer sensor to help determine when the iphone is moving forward or backwards. The ability to store single measurement moments that also contain gps, altitude, compass heading and inclination would be a very nice touch.

  • Meh

    by A sonar engineer

    SNR is poor because source signal is too weak and brief. A longer chirp with pulse compression would work significantly better.

  • Fun but not vey good

    by BobbyAllison

    The readings are inaccurate. They display in tenths of a foot leading you to believe it is +\- 0.1 or 0.2 feet - not so. It is off by feet. The display is Very noisy; not nearly as nice as the description. And whenever I try to adjust the room temperature for better accuracy the app crashes. Definitely don't pay for the pro version.

  • Like but needs work

    by Frkonlease

    This app had potential but it is lacking , two stars

  • Garbage

    by /\/\/\ ALP /\/\/\

    Buttons non responsive, measurements inaccurate by 5 feet, doesn't work.

  • Put down your phone & get a real tape measure

    by Cahz26

    Tried this to measure rooms in my house. Worthless! Seriously inaccurate. Gave me a measurement that was off by 15 feet. My advice: Use a real tape measure.

  • Doesn't work

    by Nishkabob

    iPhone 4S, iOS 6... Launches, shows ads, but no way to make it actually do what it's supposed to, buttons inactive... Trashed.

  • Not accurately work on iPhone4, iOs5

    by Pristik

    Crashed when trying switch metric units... :(

  • sonar

    by mikey1678

    does not work

  • Not very accurate

    by Vnyhhnd

    Pointed directly at an interior wall from a distance of 8 feet to a distance of 1 foot; the range did change but was never accurate as measured by a tape measure. Also, as previously noted, it crashes if you try to change the temp/metric settings.

  • Does not work on 4s

    by Yves Scheuber

    This app does not work on 4s

  • It's good. For nothing!

    by Incognito70

    Trying to change room temperature shuts down the app and the measurements are very inaccurate. The only verifiable readings were at very short distances and even those were sketchy.

  • Never really worked right

    by Corporations are not people

    I followed the instructions but it always said an object was about 4.62 +- ft. away.

  • Update!!!!!!

    by Corye123

    i thought this app was for ipod touch and i spent literally hours trying to sync it!you wasted my time ! Update and you get 4 stars!

  • Active "b...@hit"

    by Nitetrucker

    Did not work on my new I-phone4! The only active feature is the "info" icon,which only leads you to app ads. Don't waste your time!

  • Does not Work

    by ppd6844

    I don't know people say this works? It does not work for the iPhone 4. Lousy. No wonder it's free!

  • It works

    by Lastcrazyhorn

    I just can't interpret it on my own. Lol. Have to wait a bit on the on button too- which is probably why some people think it doesn't work.

  • Doesn't work

    by Halfrican22

    Don't believe the people who say it does

  • Update

    by Harmless Pigeon

    Please update for iPhone 4/iPod Touch 4G! Thank you

  • works GREAT

    by mema62

    read the instructions. also note there is a temperature setting.

  • Pretty slick, and it's free.

    by JohnMHammer

    This is fairly accurate and is very easy to use. I imagine that most people leaving negative reviews either haven't read the instructions or have devices without microphones (duh).

  • Doesn't work

    by Pedro v

    Great idea but it doesn't work.

  • Gave it a try - deleted

    by Wild Bill Cote

    It's just all over the place & does not seem to read past about 8 feet ???? Am I missing something ?

  • Cool

    by Terminator256

    This app gets bad reveiws because people simply don't read the instructions. It's a pretty cool app if you use it right and it's free, you can't go wrong just read the directions - and please don't be an idiot and ask for compatibility with iPod touch.

  • Pretty cool

    by bradb311

    Read directions. It works pretty well for a free app. Very cool thing to use or show friends.

  • Terrible

    by aveline_br

    Doesnt work.

  • Sonar measurement

    by Parappa_d_rapper

    Considering on what the app is working on and how closely accurate the measurements are ( to the centimeters) I think it's a great app. Just make sure you give the app the proper condition and you'll see how well it works.

  • Good for basic measurements

    by BustedNut

    Works well for what it is, given the hardware restrictions even on the 3GS. Be sure to set the ambient temperature!

  • Works Great!!

    by Logibogi

    I'm impressed with this app, and think it works reasonably well as long as you follow the instructions in the "info" button. I also think it helps for the room to be fairly quiet so the microphone can pick up the correct sounds. Give it an honest try and I think you will be pleased. P.S. The instructions clearly state that the object needs to be at least 2.5 feet away, not just a few inches like some of you that have posted bad reviews have tried. Once again, follow the instructions. It works!

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