How to set up watchOS 8’s new ‘iPhone left behind’ notification and how the Apple Watch alert works to prevent worry and save time when traveling.
Apple has added a new feature to the Apple Watch that can help prevent driving away and forgetting an iPhone that’s left behind on a table or a desk. This could save worrying worry and searching, not to mention the time lost from having to drive back to the place the iPhone was left at. A rundown of how to set it up and how it works might help to avoid future situations occurring.
Since 2010, Apple has made finding an iPhone relatively easy. Find My iPhone was a part of its MobileMe service and later became the more general Find My Device, allowing an iPhone or other Apple device to be located on a map when using a browser. The Find My app is also available for an iPhone, iPad, and Mac, which includes the ability to locate devices, people, and items. For the Apple Watch the options are limited to people, offering only a Find Friends app. Although the iPhone can’t be located on a map, it can be pinged by using a button in the control center.
With watchOS 8, Apple has expanded the finding ability of the Apple Watch, including a new notification that alerts the wearer when a paired iPhone has been left behind. The notification can be customized to prevent triggering it at certain locations. For example, if a home location has been set, the Apple Watch has a default setting to not send the alert when the iPhone is left at home. Note that watchOS 8 is currently only available as a public beta release, but the general update for everyone is expected to arrive soon. In a recent Apple advertisement, a farmer is driving away from a field and remembers his iPhone was left behind, then returns to a hay bale and pings it with the Apple Watch. An updated version of this ad might be released when the new update arrives to include the Apple Watch notification that the iPhone was left behind.
How iPhone Left Behind Works On Apple Watch
watchOS 8 includes a ‘left behind’ feature that is similar to what happens with an AirTag. When leaving the location of the paired iPhone, the Apple Watch will show a notification that the iPhone was left behind. It takes a few minutes and a few miles before this happens but saves the user from making a much more time-consuming round-trip when traveling further. This feature works on an Apple Watch that doesn’t have a cellular connection, meaning Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are sufficient to identify that the iPhone isn’t present. The Apple Watch and iPhone check-in with the Find My network periodically so that their last known location is relatively current, depending on internet connectivity.
There are several options in the Find Devices app that can be used in conjunction with the alert that the iPhone was left behind. Driving directions can be given for the last known iPhone location, which might help narrow down where it can be found if the owner traveled to several closeby spots. Lost mode can be switched on if the user is unable to return quickly. Finally, a repeating alert sound can be played on the iPhone when the Apple Watch is in range again and can connect. This might help if the iPhone drops out of a pocket and the owner needs help finding it.
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