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The iPhone SE 2020 doesn't have Apple's U1 Ultra Wideband chip, won't support AirTags

The new iPhone SE doesn't have all the latest hardware. (Image via Apple)
The new iPhone SE doesn't have all the latest hardware. (Image via Apple)
The new iPhone SE packs a lot of Apple's latest mobile hardware, but the U1 Ultra Wideband is absent. While this chip isn't used for much now, it does mean that the iPhone SE will be locked out of any features that rely on the chip in the future.
Sam Medley,
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The new iPhone SE is finally here, and it brings many of the flagship features found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro to a cheaper price point. However, there’s one piece of hardware that the SE doesn’t have, and it’s absence locks the SE out of some future features Apple is developing.

The iPhone SE does not have the U1 Ultra Wideband chip that was introduced with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro last fall. Currently, the U1 chip is used for improving the precision of AirDrop file transfers between devices that have the hardware. Essentially, the U1 acts as a localized GPS locater, allowing the iPhone to better pinpoint other devices.

While the U1 Ultra Wideband chip is only being used with AirDrop, Apple is currently developing a new piece of hardware known as AirTags, which are small Bluetooth tracking tiles. AirTags can be attached to things like keys, wallets, or other small items that tend to get lost. Devices with a U1 chip should be able to precisely locate an AirTag, making it easy to find. 

There are some other future projects Apple may develop that lean on the U1 chip, but as of right now, it doesn’t seem terribly useful. While the new iPhone SE doesn’t have the U1 chip, it’s unlikely to be missed by most users. 

What are your thoughts on the U1 Ultra Wideband chip? Is it a necessity or simply added fluff? Let us know in the comments. 

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Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Senior Tech Writer - 1137 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I've been a computer geek my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a database administrator. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I've also written for other outlets including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video gaming. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not writing on electronics or tinkering with a device, I'm either outside with my family, enjoying a decade-old video game, or playing drums or piano.
contact me via: @samuel_medley
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 04 > The iPhone SE 2020 doesn't have Apple's U1 Ultra Wideband chip, won't support AirTags
Sam Medley, 2020-04-16 (Update: 2020-04-16)