How to Use VR Apps without Gyroscope Sensor on the Phone

If you are looking for a more affordable alternative to expensive equipment and games to experience the virtual reality world, then you may have heard of the virtual reality apps you can download onto your mobile device so that you can get a taste of virtual reality without breaking the bank.

If your phone does not have a gyroscope sensor, you shouldn’t worry. There are still ways you can partake in virtual reality games on your mobile device. Most mid-range priced phones do not have a gyroscope feature such as the Moto X Play, the third-generation Moto G, and some of the Samsung Galaxy Grand models. Not including a gyroscope sensor on these phones allows them to remain affordable for people, but it can also inhibit you from enjoying certain games that provide the virtual reality experience.

What Is Google Cardboard?

Google Cardboard is a virtual reality platform that was developed by Google and can be used as a head mount for your smartphone. It was developed as a low-cost system to encourage interest toward new virtual reality applications.

Google Cardboard

The Google Cardboard works with most smartphone screen sizes and also works with apps on Android 4.1+, as well as the latest iOS smartphone applications. Google gave people the option of building their own virtual reality viewer from low costs materials, in this case, cardboard. Otherwise, they did have finished models readily built and available for purchase as well.

The viewers included focal length lenses, magnets or capacitive tape, a hook, and a loop fastener. However, a lot of the Google apps wouldn’t run if your phone did not include a gyroscope sensor.

Virtual Sensor

Virtual Sensor is a software algorithm that calculates a value such as a sensory reading so that it cannot be measured directly by a physical device for different reasons. A virtual sensor is meant to emulate a gyroscope sensor. If you want to play a virtual reality game or watch a virtual reality movie on your smartphone, then you should first determine if the phone has a gyroscope sensor or not.

Virtual Reality Game

A developer came up with an idea that combines sensor data from the compass and the accelerometer in order to create virtual gyroscope data. The application will trick your phone and applications into thinking that this data is actually coming from an actual gyroscope sensor.

To do this, you can download the Sensor Box App. This app is available on Android devices from PlayStore, and it is free to download. You can determine if your phone has a gyroscope sensor, and if it doesn’t, you can also determine if it has any kind of compass or magnetic sensor at all that can be used in place of the gyroscope sensor.

To install Virtual Sensor, it is required that you have a rooted Android device, Xposed Framework, and you will have to enable ‘Unknown Source’ in your security settings. You will then install the Virtual Sensor and go to the download section in the Xposed installer app where you will search for the Virtual Sensor. Finally, you will download and install it.

To activate the Xposed module, you will have to reboot your Android device. After these steps, nothing further is needed on your end and you can then open any app for Google Cardboard, including other virtual reality apps, and you will find that it now works on your smartphone, even without a gyroscope sensor.

If you experience any difficulty in downloading the Virtual Sensor and find that you are still not able to enjoy any virtual reality apps, then it may be because some of your settings may not be correct, you failed to reboot the phone after installation, or your particular Android device blocks rooting due to security risks.

It is always important before downloading anything to your phone, that you are sure you are getting the information from a reliable source. It is always good to check forums and comments for advice and information on the step by step process; this can also help you alleviate or avoid any issues you may have during the process. Most forums will be available to answer any questions you may have during the download and installation of Virtual Sensor.

Compass or Magnetic Sensor

If you have found that your smartphone has a compass or magnetic sensor feature, then you can then download the VR Player app. Once downloaded, you can open the app and go to the advanced settings to choose the Android Rotation Vector under the Orientation Provider in the drop-down menu.

Doing so will allow you to be able to move your device around and you will be able to use VR apps, even though you do not have a gyroscope sensor. It will also allow you to watch virtual reality movies on your smartphone.

Virtual Reality Movies

Difference Between an Accelerometer and a Gyroscope

A gyroscope sensor helps determine orientation, while an accelerometer is designed to measure non-gravitational acceleration. The accelerometer responds to vibrations associated with movement, rather than orientation and location.

Almost every Android device comes with an accelerometer that provides you with a suitable sensor to use to monitor device motion.

VaR’s VR Video Player

The VaR’s VR Video Player app is compatible with all smartphone devices and gives you full control. It also supports all modes of virtual reality and 3D videos. It provides screen rotation, even on phones that do not have a gyroscope sensor, and also has the ability to select a different sensor to use for head tracking.

Google Cardboard or another compatible virtual reality headset is required to achieve an optimal virtual reality experience.

Virtual Reality Headsets

Features of VaR’s VR Video Player

  • Head tracking response
  • True Virtual Reality experience with real-time movements
  • Control over display parameters, eye distance, lens correction
  • Control over brightness, saturation, and contrast
  • Supports all formats
  • Can display subtitles
  • Static mode and Float for videos that are not spherical

How to Emulate a Gyroscope

The gyroscope sensor is what allows the user to experience the 360-degree spherical view of a virtual reality world. If you have established that your phone does not have a gyroscope sensor, then there are still some apps that will work, and these apps are suitable for a phone that lacks the gyroscope sensor.

The gyroscope sensor and the accelerometer in a phone are what are used to detect orientation as you move around; they allow you to tilt and move your head so that you can experience a wider view of the virtual reality world.

VirtualSensor, as discussed earlier, is an Xposed module that helps to create a virtual gyroscope for Android phones. The way it does this is by enlisting the power from the accelerometer and the compass sensors. The only downside to using VirtualSensor to be able to use virtual reality apps is that some of the sensor’s data is read from other means in the Android Sensor Manager and this data will not be affected by the virtual sensor. However, it is still said to work with most virtual reality applications.

Vr Apps That Don’t Require a Gyroscope

VR Bowl

VR Bowl is a game that can be played with VR goggles and also works on phones that do not contain a gyroscope sensor. To use the controls, you simply look into the direction you want to be in, and you are given a limitless virtual reality experience that works with all glasses without having to worry about not having a gyroscope on your phone.

It uses a fibrum SDK, there are four free levels of gameplay, and no advertising interruptions to contend with. Instead of using a gyroscope sensor, this game employs the phone’s compass.

AAA VR Cinema Cardboard 3D SBS

The Cinema Cardboard App supports Android phones from 6.0 to 7.1.2. The screen size is considered in distortion correction mode, and the app’s cardboard device setting is used for the distortion correction. It is also important to note that the app requires that you have Google Cardboard or another compatible VR headset.

The app features a 180-degree virtual reality superview, 180-degree head tracking, side by side stereo in 180-degree virtual reality, and the graphic option enables non-high performance devices to play videos.

Gravity VR Practice

The Gravity VR Practice app does not require a gyroscope. In the app, you are able to tour a number of different cities including Moscow and New York. The app works fairly well, but there are complaints that the screen will read “no gyroscope” across the bottom as you switch from aspect to aspect within the game which can interrupt your virtual reality experience.

There are several other apps from the creators of Gravity VR Practice, and the majority of them do not require a gyroscope to use. Among these other games you can find, VR Aquadrom Race, VR Blockbuster Attraction, West VR Shooter, Zombie Shooter VR, and Curler Coaster VR Attraction.

Tuscany VR

Tuscany VR is another app that you can even find on Amazon that claims that you do not have to have a gyroscope or even a compass to play. It is available as a free download from Amazon Digital Services LLC and will be instantly available for you to begin playing.

The only requirement to playing this game is that the app is allowed to access the camera on your device. It is a virtual reality game that almost any smartphone can play. Usually, only the higher-end phones with sensors are compatible with the majority of the virtual reality apps. This app provides a low-cost way to experience the virtual reality world. You will need a controller or gamepad to move, and then you can turn your head to look around the environment, and you can explore Tuscany.

The Tuscany VR app is compatible with Google Cardboard, Curovis Dive, Cmoar, Freefly, and other HMD’s.


If you have always wanted to try virtual reality, but have found that your phone does not support most apps because there is no gyroscope sensor, then you shouldn’t worry. A lot of virtual reality apps do take into consideration that some users may not have the higher-end phones with the gyroscope sensor, so they have found ways to work around this issue and allow you to experience VR by finding ways to mimic the gyroscope by instead employing the accelerometer and compass features of the phone.

Keep in mind that for most of these apps it is required that you have a gamepad for controls and you should always check the headset compatibility of each.

Virtual reality is evolving, and there are many new games, features, and exciting advancements being made toward providing a more realistic and immersive experience in the virtual reality world. While the accessories and games can become expensive, there are always more affordable ways you can test out the experience for yourself before you start spending money on the virtual reality world.

Most of the VR Apps are for Android users. iPhone’s do not have a retina display that is good enough to support virtual reality. The iPhone also has a slower CPU which can in turn cause glitches in the video feed and the virtual reality experience will quickly drop to below sixty frames per second. Virtual reality works better when ninety frames per second are upheld, and this number will continue to rise as technological advances evolve to create a better virtual reality experience. However, Google Cardboard does work well with the latest iOS applications that are available.

Finally, if there is no VR operating system for iOS then you will not be able to launch or control the VR game if there is no operating system that supports it. If you do have an iPhone but still want to try and experience virtual reality, then there are some Cardboard apps available for iPhones, but they may not the best quality and may not provide you with the full experience, unless they are the newest and latest versions.

The future of virtual reality is bright and is constantly finding ways to improve and provide the user with a more immersive and realistic experience. While VR is generally associated with gaming, there are going to be several other ways to enjoy virtual reality that will appeal to a wider audience of people.

VR is working on finding ways to impact all of our senses while breaking the barrier that we have between the physical world and the virtual reality world.

5 thoughts on “How to Use VR Apps without Gyroscope Sensor on the Phone”

  1. Hi. I am new to the whole vr thing. My phone does not have a gyroscope sensor and the apps I try won’t work. Can you please provide a link for Virtual Sensor? I went to Google play but they have so many to choose from and I want to make sure I use the correct app you are speaking of here in your article. Thank you for your help and knowledge!

  2. Hi Blaez,
    Thanks for visiting VRInsite. The first thing I’d do is to load “VaR’s VR Video Player” to see if it can work with your phone. It will greatly improve any app you play after that for motion control.

    If that works or not, the next thing to do is try any of the apps I listed in the article.
    1. VR Bowl
    2. AAA VR Cinema Cardboard 3D SBS
    3. Gravity VR Practice
    4. Tuscany VR

    Since I wrote the article, there are a ton more apps. Go to Google Play, and type in the search box “vr gyroscope sensor”, and it’ll give you a pretty good list of apps. You can also get to google play by clicking here.


  3. Hi
    I’m looking for a VR app for my Samsung Galaxy A3 to watch normal YouTube videos that I have downloaded & view those videos on a VR headset at the dentist (the latest Google Cardboard version doesn’t seems to work on Galaxy A3 & the gyroscope feature isn’t on my phone & I don’t intend to get it as I plan to watch downloaded videos at the dentist (& not move my head around wildly) Can you recommend an app that fits these criteria?

  4. I am new to all this VR stuff, however, can this be used to play VR games? If so, please teach me how. I tried using VaR’s VR Video Player to play a random VR game and it didn’t work, the screen just stayed there. I would like to know how. Thanks!

  5. I have a remdi 8.
    This actually has a gyroscope sensor. But it has a delay of 2 seconds in reality video games like Pubg Mobile. So it’s hard to play.
    But I have the accelerometer sensor which works fine. So can I use it as a gyroscope sensor

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