The only feature known to be available is letting you share photos with AirDrop. The iPhone 11 will be able to sort the AirDrop contacts by proximity, so you can just point toward the recipient you want to send to, and their name bubbles up to the top.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on September 12, 2019

There was a lot of information at the Apple iPhone 11 reveal but one thing was not mentioned and it is only contained in the technical specifications page.

The Apple iPhone 11 – the basic model (US$699) is US$50 cheaper than its predecessor iPhone XR – includes an Ultra Wideband spatial location chip as noted on the tech specs page.

It is called U1 and is there to help you locate things with your iPhone 11.

The only feature known to be available is letting you share photos with AirDrop. The iPhone 11 will be able to sort the AirDrop contacts by proximity, so you can just point toward the recipient you want to send to, and their name bubbles up to the top.

Apple’s iOS 13 code showed that the company’s testing a Tile-like tracker that The Verge reported will help Apple iPhone 11 users keep track of their personal belongings, such as house and car keys, wallets, and bags.

The tags will be closely integrated with the new Find My app in iOS 13, which merged Apple’s previous Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps into one. This will enable a new augmented reality experience for the Apple tags, where a user could hold up their iPhone and see a balloon to mark the lost item’s location.

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MacRumors reported the tags are codenamed “B389” within Apple, and the product’s purpose has been labelled “tag your everyday items with B389 and never lose them again.”

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Users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, according to strings in the internal Find My app bundle. If necessary, users can then tap a button in the Find My app that will cause Apple’s tag to emit an audible chime to help locate the lost item.

“Safe Locations” can be set where the user will not be notified if this item is left in those locations, and users will also be able to share the location of items with friends and family members, based on iOS 13 strings.

If users are unable to find an item, they can place the attached tag into a “Lost Mode.” Then, if another iPhone user comes across the lost item, they will be able to view contact info for the item’s owner and contact them by phone or text message. Perhaps the stranger will be alerted with a Find My notification on their iPhone when they have found a lost item. The item’s owner will also be notified.

Apple is more than ever keen to promote its devices as private, to set it apart from competitors.

“We at Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right,” Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said in a privacy-conference keynote last year in Brussels. “But we also recognise that not everyone sees things as we do.” Cook was making an impassioned plea to end the technology industry’s collection and sale of user data.

“This is surveillance,” he continued. “And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them.”

Cook called for a comprehensive US data-privacy law focused on minimising data collection, securing that data, and informing users about its nature and use.

The new AirDrop experience is coming as part of iOS 13.1 on 30 September.