Which of Apple’s iPhones have the U1 or U2 chip inside them? Here’s a complete overview of all the phones that come with either chip as well as a guide of what it can do…

Apple’s U1 chipset was introduced, briefly, alongside the iPhone 11 in 2019. 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. And as of September 2023, the newest iPhones have the successor to the U1 chip–the U2 chip.

But the thing is, most people aren’t even aware that Apple’s U1 and U2 chipsets exist. And if they are, they’re unsure whether their iPhone even has a U1/U2 chip, so the purpose of this article is to explain which iPhones have a U1 or U2 chip and what you can do with it ( if your iPhone has one).

Which iPhones Have U1 Chip?

Apple debuted its U1 chip aboard the iPhone 11 in 2019. Since then, Apple has released additional generations of its iPhone, so as of right now, the following iPhones come with a U1 chip:

  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max

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.

Which iPhones Have U2 Chip?

In 2023, Apple introduced the iPhone 15 series. With the iPhone 15 series came an updated U-series chipset: the U2 chip. Here are the iPhones that ship with the U2 chip:

  • iPhone 15
  • iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15 Pro
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max

What Does The U2 Chip Do?

The U2 chip does everything the U1 chip does, but it has a longer range. It also enabled precision finding on the iPhone 15 series of phones.

Precision Finding allows you to use your iPhone 15 to track down a friedn who also has an iPhone 15 to a hyper-local level. As we wrote in our Precision Finding guide:

“As a person used Precision Finding to find you, their iPhone screen will change color, letting them know they are heading in the right direction towards you. When they get close enough, their screen will show an arrow pointing in your direction and also give them an estimate of how far away you are. A checkmark will appear on their screen when they’ve found you.”

Precision Finding is an incredible cool technology. But your iPhone needs the U2 chip to use it. That’s why Precision Finding is currently limted to the iPhone 15 series.

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 and later 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 U1/U2 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 U1/U2 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 Future Hold For Apple’s U-series 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!