Apple faced criticism after a security researcher revealed that the iPhone 11 series requests location data even when a user has specifically set not do so. The Cupertino based company explained that the behavior was due to the new U1 Ultra wideband (UWB) chip. In this article, we will show you how to disable U1 chip on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to prevent location tracking.
What can iPhone 11’s U1 Chip Do?
The U in the U1 chip stands for Ultra WideBand. According to Apple “The new Apple‑designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness — allowing iPhone 11 Pro to understand its precise location relative to other nearby U1‑equipped Apple devices. It’s like adding another sense to the iPhone, and it’s going to lead to amazing new capabilities.”
Apple is currently using U1 chip to determine the precise location of another iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, and pops that device to the very top of the AirDrop interface.
Apple has bigger plans for the U1 chip. It is widely rumored that Apple will use the U1 chip in Tile-like tracking device dubbed AirTags, that’s designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app.
Why Does Apple Need to Track Location for the U1 chip on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max?
Before we show you how to disable the U1 ultra Wideband chip, let me first explain what is the functionality of the new chip, and why it is requesting for location data. Apple has provided the following explanation on why it needs to track location for the U1 chip:
Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations. The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.
How to Disable Location Tracking U1 Chip on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
Frankly, I don’t think it is an issue as the use of the location data is done entirely locally on the device, and Apple is not uploading your location data to its server. However, if you still want to disable the U1 chip then install iOS 13.3.1 or later as the ability to disable the U1 chip was introduced in iOS 13.3.1, and follow the simple steps mentioned below:
1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max.
2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy.
3. Then navigate to Location Services > System Services (you need to scroll all the way down to find it).
4. Then tap on the toggle next to Networking & Wireless.
5. You will get a prompt, tap on Turn Off to turn off location tracking for networking and wireless features.
Please note that turning off the U1 chip will also affect Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ultra Wideband performance. You may also need to keep it enabled when Apple launches U1 chip based accessories like AirTags, which according to supply-chain ramp ups suggests will be launched in Q3 this year.
Let me know how it goes, and if you’ve any questions.