If you have ever used Xiaomi smartphones before, you might have heard about its proximity sensor. Although both Redmi 9 and 9 Prime have it, proximity sensor issues on Xiaomi can be found on many smartphones. It turns out there are countless reports on forums, the Xiaomi community, and other avenues where users have pointed out proximity sensor issues on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime, and it seems new users complaining about it aren’t stopping anything soon.
Here, we have discussed what a proximity sensor does in reality and why Redmi 9 and 9 Prime (among other Xiaomi phones) are facing issues with their proximity sensor. Finally, there are workarounds until there’s a permanent solution, so follow this guide.
- What Is the Proximity Sensor on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime do?
- Why are the Proximity Sensor on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime not working?
- Wait for updates from Elliptical and Xiaomi
- Press the power button when on call
- Clean dirt from above the sensor
- Update the software
- Re-calibrate the proximity sensor
- Reset the phone
- Take it to a technician
What Is the Proximity Sensor on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime do?
For the uninitiated, the proximity sensor on your phone is something that turns the screen lights down when you take the phone near your ear while talking over a call. It lights up the display as soon as the user has moved his/her phone away from the ear (or any other obstruction). It is also used to detect facial features that allow unlocking the phone.
It is also responsible to keep the display off when in the pocket with its pocket mode. This prevents a load of accidental touches, which phones with touchscreen suffered a lot in the past. These might seem small things, but it makes your user experience a tad bit better.
Why are the Proximity Sensor on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime not working?
Both Redmi 9 and 9 Prime don’t use an optical proximity sensor or an actual physical sensor. Instead, Xiaomi sources its digital mock-up from a company called Elliptic Labs which allows it to mimic the operations of a physical proximity sensor without actually integrating one under the hood.
This proves instrumental for the OEMs as it fixes supply chain issues with physical proximity as well as offers virtual features for hardware that would have eventually added to the overall weight of the device.
The thing is, the proximity sensor or Virtual Proximity Sensing from Elliptic Labs is facing issues irrespective of what model you use. Xiaomi has been using these virtual sensors since 201*, which means millions of users are probably facing the same issues.
Assuming that even you are facing this problem, the question is, how do you fix it? Well, here are some fixes, workaround, and troubleshooting methods that I found useful in fixing proximity sensor issues with Redmi 9 and 9 Prime among others.
Wait for updates from Elliptical and Xiaomi
Xiaomi has roped in Minghao Sensing to embed virtual proximity sensors (sensing) on its smartphones which will probably work out for newer models and units. However, those with an older model with virtual sensing from Elliptical Labs will have to wait for an update from Elliptical and/or Xiaomi on the matter. Xiaomi should release a software update in this case (more on it later).
If the proximity sensor suddenly stopped working out of the blue, you can use this method as it could be a software glitch. Simply put your phone to shut down, wait for a few minutes and turn it ON. Check if the proximity sensor on your phone is working or not.
This is a workaround that I have come across. Since a faulty proximity sensor can cause issues during calls as it won’t let the display light off, you can use workarounds. When on a call, ensure that you press the power button to lock the phone. This turns off the display and thus, there are no more accidental touches when on call.
Note that you will have to unlock the phone once the call is over but it is certainly better than having to cope up with faulty or glitchy proximity sensors.
Clean dirt from above the sensor
As you might know, a proximity sensor looks out for obstructions on it to turn off the display such as when you are on a call and take the phone to your ear or when the phone is in your pocket. Dirt on top of the sensor can cause it to suffer and that is where cleaning comes into play.
You don’t need any specialized tools or chemicals but a simple dry cloth will do the trick. Just wipe off the top bezel of your phone. For reference, the proximity sensor is located next to the front camera. Then, use a slightly wet cotton cloth to eradicate any traces of dirt and this should restore the proximity sensor’s working as usual.
Update the software
According to Xiaomi, it could send out OTA updates to the devices that were affected by the broken or faulty proximity sensor on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime using software updates. Both the devices use software instead of hardware for proximity sensing and thus, a software update seems like a logical step towards fixing the bugs that messed up the virtual sensing in the first place itself.
Re-calibrate the proximity sensor
This is a method that you can use to calibrate the proximity sensor if it works but is a bit off. Here’s how it works.
- You need to enter the secret code in a dialer app: *#*6484#*#* as it is.
- Search for Proximity Sensor Test from the list of options and tap on it.
- Follow the on-screen instructions that will guide you on what to do next to test the proximity sensor.
- You will be asked to touch on three points (or similar exercises) to calibrate the sensor.
- Restart the phone and check if it made any difference or not.
- You can use your phone’s Settings app to dive into the test as well.
- Go to Settings >> About Phone >> Kernel.
- You need to tap on “Kernel” 4 to 5 times continuously before it gives you access to the “Hardware test” window.
- Find the “Proximity Sensor” and run the test to determine if the sensor is faulty or if re-calibration will do the trick.
Reset the phone
This particular method might work if there’s a software issue that you can’t fix using the aforementioned methods. You can reset the phone which will wipe off all the data stored on your phone. Here’s how to reset your phone.
- Remove SD card/SIM card and take a backup of data before proceeding.
- Open Settings and proceed to General Management >> Reset.
- Next up, select “Factory Data Reset” or its synonym.
- You will be asked to confirm so select “Reset” again, type in the password, and hit the “Reset” button again and that will do the trick.
- Reboot the phone, set it up as a new one, and check if the proximity sensor issue is gone or not.
Take it to a technician
If you can’t hold on to a broken proximity sensor on Redmi 9 and 9 Prime and want to fix it immediately, reporting it to a technician can help. A technician should be able to narrow down specific ideas on your device and either fix the software or replace the unit if covered.
Since there is no hardware sensor onboard, there’s no way the technician will be replacing the component for better results but he should be able to find a middle ground as per your specific use case. Make sure you don’t try fixing a proximity sensor or any other component on your phone by yourself without knowing how to do it as you will cause more damage than fixing the problem.