What you need to know

  • Apple said some watch bands may cause interference with the Series 5's compass.
  • The watch's ability to display the way you're facing might not work correctly.
  • You might want to consider a Sport Loop or Sport Band instead.

One of the new features in Apple Watch Series 5 is the compass, which allows users to see which direction they're facing on a map. Unfortunately, the compass may not function properly when the Series 5 is paired with certain watch straps.

On its website, Apple warns users that bands with magnets may interfere with the compass. 9to5Mac has the explanation:

That's because digital compasses like the one inside the new Apple Watch Series 5 and iPhone 3GS and later rely on a magnetoresistive permalloy sensor called magnetometer to detect levels of magnetism.

Device orientation isn't a factor due to the three-acts design, but magnetic interference is something magnetometers must contend with — and that include magnetic Apple Watch bands.

The sensor inside the Series 5 may mistake the magnet inside your band for the magnetic pull of the planet, confusing the compass. It's something not even Apple's engineers can get around. The good news is your GPS should continue to work properly.

Apple's Sport Band, Sport Loop, and other watch bands without a magnet won't interfere with the Series 5's compass. But you might run into some problems if you pick up a Milanese Loop.

It's just something to note before you pick up with Apple Watch Series 5, which is available to preorder now before hitting stores on September 20.

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