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How to Display the List of Sensors Present in an Android Device Programmatically?

Last Updated : 23 Feb, 2021
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All Android devices produced worldwide come with built-in sensors that measure motion, orientation, and various environmental conditions. These sensors generally facilitate Android architecture by providing the data from the sensor for various applications. For example, a temperature sensor provides the device’s temperature, information from which could be used for shutting down a few unrequired services. Such a sensor is a general type, but broadly, sensors are divided into three types:

  1. Motion Sensors: Motion sensors measure the acceleration and rotational forces along the three axes x-y-z. Motion Sensors include accelerometers, gravity sensors, gyroscopes, and rotational vector sensors.
  2. Environment Sensors: Environment sensors measure a variety of environmental parameters, such as pressure, ambient temperature (room temperature), illumination (light falling on the device), and humidity. They include barometers, photometers, and thermometers.
  3. Position Sensors: Position Sensors measure the physical position of a device in the space. They include orientation sensors and magnetometers.

Generally Available Sensors in an Android Device

In general, any Android Device on or above Android Version 4.4 (Kitkat) have these sensors present in them:

  1. Accelerometer – Hardware Sensor – Motion Sensor
  2. Gravity Sensor – Program Based (Software) – Raw data derived from the Motion Sensors for Gravity calculation.
  3. Ambient Temperature – Hardware Sensor – Environment Sensor
  4. Gyroscope – Hardware Sensor – Motion Sensor
  5. Light Sensor – Hardware Sensor – Environment Sensor
  6. Orientation Sensor – Program Based (Software) – Raw data derived from the Position and Motion Sensors
  7. Proximity Sensor – Hardware Sensor – Position Sensor


Step 1: Create a New Project

To create a new project in Android Studio please refer to How to Create/Start a New Project in Android Studio. Note that select Kotlin as the programming language.

Step 2: Working with the activity_main.xml file

Go to the activity_main.xml file which represents the UI of the application, and create a TextView inside a ScrollView that shall list the sensors present in the device. Below is the code for the activity_main.xml file. 


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <!--Text View that shall display the sensor information list-->
        android:layout_centerInParent="true" />

Step 4: Working with the MainActivity.kt file

Go to the MainActivity.kt file, and refer to the following code. Below is the code for the MainActivity.kt file. Comments are added inside the code to understand the code in more detail.


import android.content.Context
import android.hardware.Sensor
import android.hardware.SensorManager
import android.os.Bundle
import android.widget.TextView
class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
    // Information about Sensors present in the 
    // device is supplied by Sensor Manager of the device
    private lateinit var sensorManager: SensorManager
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        // Initialize the variable sensorManager
        sensorManager = getSystemService(Context.SENSOR_SERVICE) as SensorManager
        // getSensorList(Sensor.TYPE_ALL) lists all the sensors present in the device
        val deviceSensors: List<Sensor> = sensorManager.getSensorList(Sensor.TYPE_ALL)
        // Text View that shall display this list
        val textView = findViewById<TextView>(
        // Converting List to String and displaying 
        // every sensor and its information on a new line
        for (sensors in deviceSensors) {
            textView.append(sensors.toString() + "\n\n")

Output: Run on Emulator

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