Apple has added a new proximity-sensing feature to the Apple Watch Series that will make it significantly easier to locate a lost iPhone. Thanks to the new Ultra Wideband chip that comes tagged alongside the new S9 silicon, the Apple Watch will now offer directional as well as haptic cues to help users locate their misplaced phone.
Apple calls it Precision Finding, and as the name makes it abundantly, it essentially enhances how close your Apple Watch can get you to an iPhone that is out of sight, hiding inside a sofa crevice, or lying under a pillow. The name is not exactly original, as a similar trick already works across the AirTag ecosystem.
Just in case there was any confusion, the Apple Watch Series 9’s iPhone-finding trick is tied to the Find My system. All you need to do is tell the smartwatch that you can’t find your iPhone, and it will help you find it with physical and visual cues right on your wrist.
How it works
Once you trigger the Find My system, you will get directional arrows flashing on the screen and a rough estimate of the distance. In addition to vibration cues, you will also get audio guidance so that you land at the right spot. Apple says this feature is good enough even if your missing iPhone is located in another room.
Starting at $399, the Apple Watch leverages the same near-field wireless location tracking trick as the first-gen U1 chip found inside a bunch of other Apple products, such as the HomePod. However, there’s a catch. Precision Finding on Apple Watch Series 9 is exclusive to the iPhone 15 quartet because the new phones also come fitted with the same U2 chip inside.
As for the HomePod camaraderie, the Apple Watch Series 9 will automatically detect a HomePod within a four-meter range and automatically display media controls. Moreover, it will pull up the entire smart stack for deeper controls beyond just playing and shuffling through music and podcasts.
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