New to Apple Watch Series 5 models is a built-in compass that allows users to see which way they are facing, complete with a new Compass app that displays heading, incline, latitude, longitude, and current elevation.

apple watch series 5 compass
In fine print on its website, however, Apple has indicated that Apple Watch bands with magnets "may cause interference" with the compass. This includes the Milanese Loop, Modern Buckle, and Leather Loop. Sport Bands, Sport Loops, Link Bracelets, Nike, and Hermès bands do not contain magnets.

Magnetic interference can affect any compass, so this is not an Apple Watch issue, but something to keep note of while choosing a band.

Update: Apple has published a support document with more information:

The presence of magnets can affect the accuracy of any compass sensor. Apple's Leather Loop, Milanese Loop, and earlier Sport Loop watch bands use magnets or magnetic material that might interfere with the Apple Watch compass. The compass isn't affected by Sport Loop bands introduced in September 2019, or any version of the Sport Band.

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Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

benshive Avatar
38 months ago
"Man, Apple sucks under Tim Cook. Why couldn't they just change the laws of physics to make this work with all bands. Their days of innovation are obviously over"
- someone here, probably
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2010mini Avatar
38 months ago
Still having a really hard time thinking of a time that I'd EVER need a compass
Comes in very handy if you travel a lot.
[doublepost=1568650377][/doublepost]
So one of the two selling points of series 5 is potentially not useable by people if you have the wrong band.

You’re wearing it wrong?
So Apple is bad because cannot change the laws of physics?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unity451 Avatar
38 months ago
Still having a really hard time thinking of a time that I'd EVER need a compass
You're not living then.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
38 months ago
No one needs a compass
“I don’t need a compass” ≠ “no one needs a compass”
[doublepost=1568649912][/doublepost]So I guess Apple won’t be able to use stories in one of their inspiring videos about people getting lost and using their Apple Watch’s compass to take them to safety.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
38 months ago
Still having a really hard time thinking of a time that I'd EVER need a compass
I use it when I emerge from a subway station, to make sure I know which way I'm facing. Unless the stars are out, in which case I can go by the positions of the constellations.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
38 months ago
So one of the two selling points of series 5 is potentially not useable by people if you have the wrong band.

You’re wearing it wrong?
Magnetism is magnetism. What do you want from them? The Apple Watch isn't located far from the band. The magnet on the band needs to be very strong so it stays on the wrist. Most people aren't going to be wearing these fancier bands when they're hiking anyway. I know I always put on a sport band or loop.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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