Which iPhones Have U1 Chip: A Complete Guide…

Which of Apple’s iPhones have the U1 chip inside them? Here’s a complete overview of all the phones that come with it as well as a guide of what it can do…

Apple’s U1 chipset was introduced, briefly, alongside the iPhone 11. During Apple’s launch event, the company stated the U1 chip would enable “amazing new capabilities” but little else was said. Since then, Apple’s U1 chip has grown and evolved. It can now do lots more things.

But the thing is, most people aren’t even aware that Apple’s U1 chipset exists. And if they are, they’re unsure whether their iPhone even has a U1 chip, so the purpose of this article is to explain which iPhones have a U1 chip and what you can do with the U1 chip ( if your iPhone has it).

Which iPhones Have U1 chip?

Apple debuted its U1 chip aboard the iPhone 11 in 2019. Since then, Apple has released two additional generations of its iPhone, so as of right now, the following iPhones come with a U1 chip: the iPhone 11 series, iPhone 12 series, and the iPhone 13 series. Apple’s iPhone 14 will also have a U1 chipset inside it too.


The U1 Isn’t Just Limited To iPhones Though…

A lot of Apple’s other products also feature a U1 chip too. Apple’s Apple Watch Series 6 has it for instance, as well as its latest HomePod mini and its AirTags. Pretty soon, all of Apple’s products – including its new M2 and M1 Pro / Pro Max Macs – will come with a U1 chip inside them.

This will make finding and locating your Apple products easier than ever inside Apple’s Find My app. On top of this, the new U1 chip makes communication between devices even faster and more efficient, as with its applications for the new AirDrop. Apple says the U1 makes the new AirDrop like having GPS in an incredibly small space, like your living room or home office.

On top of this, the new U1 chip can also detect what direction you’re pointing your device in. For instance, if you point your phone at your friend’s iPhone, and they both have a U1 chip, AirDrop will know to send it from your iPhone to your friend’s based solely on the direction your iPhone is facing.

What Does The U1 Chip Do?

The big idea with the U1 chip is communication. Specifically, more accurate communication between devices that run the chip. For instance, the U1’s first proper outing was powering Apple’s new – more accurate – AirDrop functionality which debuted in iOS 13.

The U1 chip uses ultra-wideband to locate and find other U1-enabled devices. The U1 chip leverages high frequency, low range, radio signals, as well as a time-of-flight system to quickly locate other Apple or ultra-wideband devices inside the Find My app. This method is A LOT more accurate than the old GPS and/or Bluetooth standard.

With AirTags you will get better, more focussed directions to your lost Apple device. If you’re AirTag is connected to a lost item, and you have an iPhone with a U1 chip inside it, you’ll be able to get precise directions to its exact location inside the Find My app, whereas before in Find My iPhone, locations were always approximate, based on Bluetooth.

What Does The Future Hold For Apple’s U1 Chipset?

Apple has confirmed that third-party device support is coming to Find My app. In addition to this, the U1 chip will play a part in the Apple CarKey, a new system that will allow you to open and operate your car simply by using your Apple Watch or iPhone. BMW is a current partner in this scheme and more car brands are coming.

By the close of 2023, nearly all of Apple’s products – including its Macs, AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPhones – will ship with a U1 chip and this will make the completely trackable, down to the centimeter, inside Apple’s Find My app. It will also make sending data between different Apple products easier and more intuitive than ever, perhaps eventually negating the need for things like ports.

And the REALLY good news is that you can access Apple’s U1 chip for a lot less now – the iPhone 11 Pro Max is now extremely cheap. If you’re looking for a solid, reliable phone that has the U1 chipset, this is the phone I would be looking at – it’s cheaper than the base model iPhone 13!

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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