Concept: Indoor GPS for Apple devices

Svilen's Realm
Published in
2 min readOct 13, 2020


Update: Apple just announced indoor iPhone tracking at it’s 2020 iPhone event, although it’s not clear if it will identify individual rooms

In the past year, Apple has starting embedding Ultra-wideband sensors (UWB) in iPhones and as of recently, Apple Watches. What makes UWB interesting is that it gives devices a degree of spatial awareness. If Apple continues this trend and embeds UWB in their stationary hardware: Apple TV, HomePod, and even iMac (why not?)… suddenly iPhone, iPad, MacBook and AirPods could know what room they’re located inside of your living space, via using triangulation techniques. It might even be possible to locate devices across different floors.

This would create a sort of an Indoor GPS which presents some interesting possibilities.

Imagine if…

  • your phone automatically switches to Do Not Disturb at the dinner table during dinner time
  • iPhone’s Home App auto-displays the controls for all the smart devices in a given room as soon as you enter it.
  • your Apple Watch could display relevant complications depending which room you’re in… step outside on a Wed and the Workout App shows up.
  • -the A/C is automatically adjusted to your preferred temp, while the thermostat complication surfaces on your watch
  • And perhaps my biggest wish: iPhones and iPads not asking for Face ID or pin code whenever you’re wearing your Apple Watch within a safe distance

Hurdles and Challenges

UWB only gives Device A references to Device B using signal direction and signal strength I believe… The next step would be for users to map out their physical space (rooms) on top of the device relationships to give the system full understanding how to interpret your device orientation in the context of your home. Perhaps an onboarding step is required where users outline their rooms with the iPhone camera…

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