Drone Videographer Duncan Sinfield: 'Only a Matter of Time' Until Apple Park Shuts Down Drone Flights

Duncan Sinfield says that piloting his drones over Apple Park has become increasingly difficult in the past few weeks, and that he believes it's "only a matter of time until the campus becomes shut-off to drones completely." Sinfield's comment on Apple Park security comes in the text description of a new video that he uploaded today, where he talks about the response that he's been getting to drone piloting over the campus.


The drone videographer says that security "generally responds" to his precise takeoff location "in 10 minutes or less." He speculates that Apple has set up a geofence of some kind and that the company could be tracking all drone flights near the campus in an effort to lower the amount of eyes on Apple Park. He further guesses that Apple might be using technology from a company like Dedrone, which describes itself as "the airspace security platform that detects, classifies, and mitigates all drone threats.​"

This is an extended length video, it's only a matter of time until the campus becomes shut-off to drones completely... with a geo-fence, or something similar. Security at Apple Park generally responds in two white Prius's to my precise take-off locations in 10 minutes or less. While this is speculation, my instincts tell me that Apple is tracking all drones in the vicinity of the campus with sophisticated radio frequency technology from companies such as DeDrone (a San Francisco-based aerospace security company).

As always, I respect all requests by Apple Security to land my drone and leave the area when asked to do so. They are always asking if I'm an Apple employee too. So to all of the Apple Employees watching (and reading), don't fly your drones over The Park, it's frowned upon!

Last summer, multiple reports emerged about Apple Park security's first efforts at stopping drone pilots from accessing the airspace above the campus. Despite those attempts, drone update videos have been consistently uploaded to YouTube by multiple videographers, including Sinfield and Matthew Roberts. Apple Park's latest stance on drones appears to be a bit more strict this time around, and follows a recently leaked memo from the company that warned employees against leaking details about future devices to the media.

Besides the security-focused topic of the description, Sinfield's video today is an extended update providing the usual coverage of Apple Park. The campus looks essentially complete except for a few remaining dirt mounds and empty landscaping areas outside of the main spaceship building and near the Steve Jobs Theater. Apple Park has become increasingly busy since more employees began moving in earlier this year, with the campus providing a backdrop for executive interviews as well as housing CEO Tim Cook's own office.

In another drone video posted back in February, Matthew Roberts captured a drone that malfunctioned and crashed among the solar panels covering the roof of Apple Park.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
26 months ago
Can you blame them? It's private property and can become a safety hazard to people walking on campus. There are also privacy concerns of course.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
26 months ago

But Apple doesn't own airspace around campus, do they?


Good point. I’ll come over and hover my drone 10 feet above your house 24/7.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
26 months ago

But Apple doesn't own airspace around campus, do they?


Nope. All airspace is federally controlled. Specifically, Apple Park is under the Class C airspace of San Jose Airport, meaning aircraft cannot enter it without contacting ATC. The only reason why drones are allowed to fly over Apple Park currently is that an exception, called a NOTAM, was requested. The text of the NOTAM:

NOTAM UAS Operating Area SJC_08/052
DEFINED AS .5NM RADIUS OF 371900N1220033W (4.5NM SW SJC)
SFC-700FT (SFC-400FT AGL) DLY 1500-2259 1708171500-1806302259.

We don't know who requested the NOTAM in the first place, but it will expire June 30, and presumably not be renewed by the FAA. That's when drone flights will end over Apple Park, and the reason they will end. But good luck ending the meaningless speculation. This isn't the first time I've tried.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
26 months ago

Apple is becoming like North Korea

Please post your address so we can have drones recording your house and its backyard, and upload them for public watching on Youtube.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
26 months ago
But Apple doesn't own airspace around campus, do they?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
26 months ago

Nope. All airspace is federally controlled. Specifically, Apple Park is under the Class C airspace of San Jose Airport, meaning aircraft cannot enter it without contacting ATC. The only reason why drones are allowed to fly over Apple Park currently is that an exception, called a NOTAM, was requested. The text of the NOTAM:

NOTAM UAS Operating Area SJC_08/052
DEFINED AS .5NM RADIUS OF 371900N1220033W (4.5NM SW SJC)
SFC-700FT (SFC-400FT AGL) DLY 1500-2259 1708171500-1806302259.

We don't know who requested the NOTAM in the first place, but it will expire June 30, and presumably not be renewed by the FAA. That's when drone flights will end over Apple Park, and the reason they will end. But good luck ending the meaningless speculation. This isn't the first time I've tried.



If the pilot is part 107 certified and has an Airspace Authorization for the SJC class C Airspace there isn't much Apple can do. He's operating within his legal authority as an FAA licensed UAS operator. The only exception would be if he was being unsafe in the airspace. Otherwise... there's not a darn thing Apple can do to "restrict" their own airspace, about the only thing they could do is prohibit take off and landing from their property, but if he takes off on a public sidewalk across the street.... tough cookies.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Watch Series 6 Could Feature Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Pulse Oximetry and Sleep Tracking Support

Friday March 27, 2020 11:28 am PDT by Juli Clover
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 set to be released this fall could include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the crown of the device, according to Israeli site The Verifier, which cites "senior sources" who have worked with its staff for a "number of years" as the source of the rumor. It's not clear how the alleged Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be implemented, as the Digital...

Zoom Updates iOS App to Stop Sending Data to Facebook

Friday March 27, 2020 5:35 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Zoom, a video conferencing app that many people are using at the current time to keep in touch with coworkers while working from home, was sending data to Facebook without disclosing the data sharing to customers. As of today, Zoom has updated its iOS app to remove the SDK that was providing data to Facebook through the Login with Facebook feature, according to Motherboard, the site that...

Apple Suppliers Worried About iPhone Demand, Production Ramp-Up for New iPhones Reportedly Postponed

Friday March 27, 2020 5:56 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Most of the factories in China that supply devices and components to Apple are back to churning out products, but Apple suppliers are said to be worried about how much demand there will be for the current iPhone models and the new iPhones expected in the fall. According to Reuters, a senior official at one of Apple's major supply companies said that orders for quarter ending in March are...

Deals: Huge Refurbished iPhone Sale Discounts iPhone 7, 8, X, XR, and XS (From $120)

Friday March 27, 2020 5:47 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Woot is back today with a big sale on refurbished iPhones, including markdowns on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. As with every Woot purchase, those...

Apple Launches COVID-19 Website and App With Screening Tool and Resources

Friday March 27, 2020 9:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced that it has released a new COVID-19 website and iPhone app with a screening tool and other resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple partnered with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA on this initiative. The website and app allow users to answer a...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

2020 iPad Pro Teardown Provides Closer Look at LiDAR Scanner and Confirms Incremental Update

Saturday March 28, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
iFixit today shared a video teardown of the new iPad Pro, which Apple unveiled earlier this month. iFixit found that most of the internals of the 2020 iPad Pro are the same as the 2018 model, confirming that the device is a relatively incremental update. The most notable new feature seen inside the new iPad Pro was the LiDAR scanner, which measures the distance to surrounding objects up...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Apple Offering 90-Day Free Trials for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X

Thursday March 26, 2020 2:58 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is offering new free trial options for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, its video and audio editing software designed for professional projects, giving customers 90 days to try them out prior to a purchase. The new longer trial options will be beneficial to those who are working from home, including students who are no longer able to work in a classroom environment, and those who are...