Here’s how to get the most out of Apple AirTag Tracking followers with iPhones that do not contain Apple Ultra Wideband U1 processors or in countries with UWB bans.

Apple rather skipped what it’s like to use AirTags when you don’t have one iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 Range. And that’s because the answer is that AirTags are just fine without the U1 Ultra Wideband processor in these phones.

Obviously, if you have an older iPhone, you should take care of it if you have the current one iPhone SEor that is still available iPhone XR. What’s slightly less obvious is that even if you have a U1 iPhone you should be concerned – but you’re traveling to, say, Paraguay, Nepal, or Russia.

In fact, Apple lists 16 countries in which U1 simple does not work. “Ultra Wideband is not available in all countries or regions,” explains Apple in a support document“and is subject to international regulatory requirements, according to which it must be switched off in certain places.”

What you lose without U1

Apple says you will lose the precision finding feature. But that’s really all you thought of AirTags.

In that store, you saw a green screen with a white arrow that says you are so many feet from the AirTag that the AirTag is on your left and one level up, that’s Precision Finding.

Without a U1 processor, or when Ultra Wideband isn’t available, AirTags will still work, but it’s the way Find My used to be.

Instead of one Find The button shows the app a Directions one.

Where to tap Find With U1 you stay in the Find My app and start this process of precision search by tapping Directions takes you to Apple Maps.

You will then see a normal Apple Maps screen with your current position as a small blue dot and initially without any signs of your AirTags. However, Apple Maps was pre-installed with the route from your location to the AirTag.

Tap Walk and Apple Maps will guide you.

Left: Find My on an iPhone 12 Pro. Right: the same goes for the iPhone SE. Note the different buttons “Search” and “Directions”.

You can see how this works for yourself even if you have a U1 iPhone and you are in a region that allows Ultra Wideband. Instead of tracking an AirTag, go to the Find My app and tap Devices.

Tap to choose a device, preferably not the one in your hand. A will appear Directions Button. Tap on that and you will get to Apple Maps and exactly the same procedure.

All is not lost

Without U1, you will get a severely degraded AirTag experience. But that doesn’t mean that AirTags are worthless.

Once Apple Maps gets you near the AirTag, you can get it to play a sound. So it is true that your iPhone won’t take you all the way to the lost AirTag, but it will easily get you within range to hear the sound.

If all of this means the AirTag works like any other Apple device that you can track in Find Me, there is still one crucial difference. Yes, Find My can already track your iPhone without sticking an AirTag on the back, but you will never leave your iPhone in your luggage. Or stick it on your keychain.

You really want U1

U1 makes finding AirTags smoother, both for the way you do the precision search and the way you stay in the Find My app.

There is enough difference that if you buy an AirTag without knowing anything about U1, the first time you open Find My on your iPhone SE, you might be disappointed. Even so, it still works, it still gets you close to the AirTag.

Realistically, the difference isn’t enough that you have an excuse to update your phone. I’m sorry.

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