Hands-on with the new Apple Watch Series 5 compass

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Apple Watch compass
The Milanese Loop's magnet doesn't seem to trouble the compass.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

WatchOS 6 introduces a new Compass app (only for the Apple Watch Series 5), along with a couple of Compass complications. It works pretty much exactly like you’d expect, only with a few neat extras. You can access it from the All Apps screen, or by tapping the Compass complication on one of your Apple Watch faces. Let’s take a look.

Magnetic bands could mess with Apple Watch Series 5 compass

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Compass
Compasses and magnets don’t mix.
Photo: Apple

One of the best new features on Apple Watch Series 5 may not work well — or at all — depending on what type of band wear with your watch.

Like all compasses, the Apple Watch Series 5 compass is sensitive to magnetic interference. Cupertino warns customers on its website that some of its bands with magnetic clasps could adversely affect compass readings.

Stay away from these bands if you want your Apple Watch compass to work.

What’s in store for Apple Watch Series 4? [Wish List]

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What cool new features are hidden inside that slimmer Apple Watch Series 4 frame? [Mockup]
What cool new features will be hidden inside that slimmer Series 4 frame?
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In just a few weeks, Apple looks set to unveil the biggest upgrade yet to its popular wearable.
While the external appearance of Apple Watch has not changed much since its launch, recent leaks suggest we can expect a new form factor with a larger screen when Apple Watch Series 4 lands.

In the Photoshop mockup above, I’ve shown how Apple’s next watch might look if it slimmed down and added a larger screen (as the rumormongers predict). That would be pretty cool, but there are plenty of other potential upgrades I’m excited about.

Here’s my top 10 wish list for Apple Watch Series 4 new features.

Redesigned iPad Stand Looks More Like A Kitchen Utensil

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High-powered with a tiny footprint.
High-powered with a tiny footprint.

Kitchen Utensil. Mobile Office. Study Stand.

Sure, those don’t all go together, but Twelve South’s new iPad Air and iPad mini stand looks like nothing you’ve seen before. It might as well find a place in a kitchen drawer, next to all the Pampered Chef gizmos you’ve got in there.

This new iPad stand — made for the iPad Air and iPad mini — is foldable, easy to use, and just plain sweet looking.

New Tests Point to Multiple Issues With iPhone 5s Sensors

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ku-xlarge

Reports of inaccurate motion sensors in the iPhone 5s continue to grow. As reported last week on Cult of Mac, there appear to be widespread problems with the 5s’ compass, gyroscope and accelerometer.

The original forum thread at MacRumors is now at a whopping 19 pages of user reports, and Apple has yet to respond to Cult of Mac’s repeated requests for information.

This morning, Gizmodo conducted its own tests and found the iPhone 5s motion sensors to be “totally screwed up.”

Looks like the problem is far more widespread than the naysayers on our original post, and on the MacRumors thread, are willing to admit.

iPhone 5s Compass Way Off Base, Users Say

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Direct from Cult of Mac HQ - something's dodgy here.
Direct from Cult of Mac HQ - something's dodgy here.

You might not want to use your iPhone 5s to find your way out of the woods just yet.

A number of users are reporting that their iPhone 5s compass and level are showing incorrect values when placed on flat surfaces. It might be a hardware issue, leaving Apple with a costly hardware recall or replacement issue. The problem could also point to a software snafu that needs speedy patching.

The problem was first spotted on by “tharepairguy” on a forum thread over at Mac Rumors. He set his iPhone 5s and his iPhone 4 to magnetic north. The iPhone 4 reads 179 south, while the iPhone 5s reads 165 south. His car compass confirms the iPhone 4 reading.

He then checked the level app on each phone. The iPhone 4 showed a surface to be level, as did two other Johnson analog levels. The iPhone 5s? -4 degrees.

Be Handy – Use The Compass And Level Built Into iOS 7 Beta [iOS tips]

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Level iOS 7 beta

iOS 6 gave us the Compass, which, honestly, I’ve never really used that much.

The new iOS 7 beta, however, has given me some functionality I’m much more likely to need and use. Heck, I even have a third-party app to make sure my handyman projects around the house aren’t crooked.

I’m talking about a level, and there’s a new one built right into iOS 7 beta, within the Compass app on the iPhone. I haven’t found a comparable app on my iPad running iOS 7 beta, but maybe in the future?

Either way, here’s how to find and use the compass and level app.

iOS 7 Compass App Has A New Trippy Level Feature Too

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iOS7level

Not only did the Compass app in iOS 7 get a healthy dose of Jony Ive minimalism, it’s also got a new, ultra-minimalist level feature as well.

To access the feature just swipe left from the main screen of the Compass app. The app uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to show the user how many degrees off of zero a surface is. If a surface is flat, the iPhone locks into green screen.