The new Apple Watch Series 5 can help keep you from getting lost — unless you’re wearing an Apple Watch band with a magnet.
One of the Series 5’s marquee features is a built-in compass that allows users to see their direction, latitude, longitude, heading, incline and elevation. But if you scroll down to the small print at the very bottom of Apple’s Series 5 watch band page, you’ll find the following statement:
“Some bands contain magnets and may cause interference with Compass on Apple Watch.”
The Milanese Loop, Leather Loop and Modern Buckle bands are the only three to feature strong magnets meant to keep the watch in place on a user’s wrist. Third-party bands that feature magnets will also cause interference.
If you’d like to pick up an Apple Watch Series 5 and use the Compass feature, we recommend opting for one of the bands without any magnetic closures. Those include the Link Bracelets, Hermés bands, Nike bands, Sport Loop bands and Sport Bands.
To be clear, this isn’t any fault of Apple’s. All compasses are prone to interference from magnets. Depending on proximity, they can mistake the magnetic pull of a magnet for the magnetic pull of the planet.
It’s also important to note that Apple says magnets “may cause interference” with the compass feature, likely impacting its accuracy. That only applies to the compass’s ability to show you which direction you’re facing. Magnets won’t affect your watch’s ability to show location data based on GPS coordinates.
This isn’t really the first time that a band has been “incompatible” with an Apple Watch feature. Just think of Apple’s leather and metal bands, which you shouldn’t use in water despite the fact that most Apple Watches are highly water-resistant.
Of course, if you’re hiking out in the woods and you need to use the compass on your Apple Watch, there’s already a good chance that you aren’t wearing one of your fancier bands.
Still, Apple does package certain potentially interfering bands with its Apple Watch devices — so you’ll want to keep that in mind.