Apple AirTags: Everything You Need to Know about Apple’s New Innovation
Apple’s most recent smart device is the coveted AirTag which is a small, puck-shaped tracker that allows you to locate misplaced or stolen items along with the Find My app. The beacon-style devices work similarly to Tile and SmartTag Bluetooth trackers from Samsung but you will need to update your iPhone to iOS 14.5. AirTags use a peculiar ultra-wideband technology and leverage Apple’s current network of devices which extensively work as crowdsourced beacons to ping internally to track your item’s location.
AirTags are priced at $29 for a single piece or $99 for a pack of four. You can get it engraved with your initials or an image that you want for free. Other accessories like keychains, luggage tags and loops to hold the device are sold separately. Once you have AirTags, how to use them efficiently? Here’s everything that you need to know about AirTags before you buy one for yourself.
How To Setup Your Apple AirTags
Apple recommends that the AirTags setup is simple and comparable to how you activate Apple AirPods. Let us see how you can set up your AirTags once you purchase it.
- Search and open the Find My app on your iPhone or any Apple device. It is pre-installed on all Apple devices but you will need to set it up.
- Pair the AirTag with your iPhone. For this, just bring the AirTag close to your iPhone and it will easily pair with your phone.
3. Next, follow the steps to create a name for your item. For instance, “My House Keys” if you are attaching the AirTag to your house keys and register it with your Apple ID. It is extremely easy to pair your AirTags with your iPhone with the help of Bluetooth.
4. As soon as you pair the AirTag with your iPhone, it will come up under the items in the app where it will display the existing and last known location on a map.
5. Simply attach your AirTag with an item of your choice like your phone, keys or literally anything.
10-Interesting Insights Apple’s AirTag Tracker.
Now, let us discuss some details about the AirTag tracker.
As per the information relayed from Apple, the AirTag battery will last more than a year before it will need to be replaced. Interestingly, the AirTag battery is not an Apple proprietary product, it simply uses a basic CR2032 battery which you can buy at online or your local store. It is even easy to remove the battery by pushing down and twisting the AirTag’s back plate.
If you are worried about Apple AirTag tracker monitoring your live location and have disabled location services on your iPhone then you won’t be able to use AirTags. For Apple to tell you where your item is located, it will need to track your location first. If it is not enabled on your device, you can simply Open Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You need to switch on the Location services on your device. After that, scroll down to Find My in your apps and ensure that it is set to While Using the app.
The AirTag is a minute, puck-shaped device with a shiny white front side that can be updated by engraving an initial and a silver background. AirTags are built to work with the CR2032 batteries inside and it will be necessary to attach additional accessories to attach to an item. It is 1.26 inches in diameter and has a height of 0.31 inches or 8mm. It weighs around 11 grams.
Apple AirTag Technology
AirTags does not come with a GPS chip similar to an iPhone. However, Apple uses the latest U1 chip with ultra-wideband technology to develop a peer-to-peer network that checks a database of 1.65 billion Apple devices to find the location of your AirTag.
Find My AirTag
Open Find My app on your Apple iPhone to check the tracker’s location on a map. You can use this app to play a sound from AirTag which will find the location of the item if you are nearby. If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 model, you can Find and turn to Precision Finding. This will show you how far the item is from your location and offer prompts on your iPhone’s screen. Now, if you can’t find the tracker then there is an option in the Find My app to place it in Lost Mode and write a custom message to be shown when your AirTag is found by someone else. When someone else holds the AirTag near their iPhone, your custom message including your contact information will display on their screen and they can contact you. It will work well on any device which has NFC enabled so Android owners can also help you get your lost AirTags.
AirTag Family Sharing
Family Sharing enables you upto five family members to share items from iTunes, App Store, Apple Books along with Apple Music family subscription and iCloud Storage. It is possible to share location via Family Location Sharing and help family members find lost Apple devices with Find My app on your Apple device. Hence you might think that it would assist you if your family member could also help you find your AirTag from their own phone. However, AirTags are locked to one Apple ID to reduce unwanted tracking so only you can track down your AirTag.
Remove AirTag from Apple ID
As your AirTag is signed up from your Apple ID during setup, only you can remove it from Apple ID. You can open the Find My App, select the Items option and choose AirTag from the list. Select Remove Item to free it up for others to use. By doing so, if your AirTag (or the connected device) is lost or stolen, that person will not be able to link it to their Apple device.
Can AirTag be used to Track Me?
A major issue about AirTags and other small tracking devices is that it will be used to track people and not devices alone. AirTags are pretty small and will not weigh down your keyrings or wallets but it can also be easy to place in someone’s bag or vehicle. In that case, the Find My app will notify you on your Apple device if it finds an AirTag not linked to your Apple ID and is with you. Then you have an option to disable that AirTag or to play a sound to locate it. To do so, you will need to update your device to iOS 14.5 or above.
Though, it won’t be useful for Android users who have an AirTag slipped in their belongings. Apple recommends that AirTag will play a sound if it has been separated from the owner which is currently at three days. It is the same as Tile or Samsung tag and the only reason it is not possible with a Tile is that Tile is not that good.
AirTag Compatibility With Android Devices
Android users will not be able to register an AirTag with their device but the NFC functionality in Android phones enables them to connect to lost AirTags and show any Lost Mode messages so they can return it.
Apple has not offered any details regarding the range of the AirTag but the maximum Bluetooth range is about 100 meters and hence an AirTag should be trackable at least till that distance. You will need to play around with the device to find accurate range information or wait for Apple to spill the beans.
In the above points you must have understood the security around the AirTags. Now, each AirTag is linked to its own Apple ID and it is difficult to track it. Location data and history are never stored on any AirTag and the devices that show the location of a lost AirTag stay unknown and location data is encrypted on each and every step. In a way, we found Apple’s new tracker to be quite secure in terms of handling user data and enabling their location. We are really excited about the new iOS tracking device which is quite moderately priced and offers a great functionality to help you with your lost or stolen Apple devices. Have you tried using the new Apple AirTag tracker? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.
Keval Padia is the founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing mobile app development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.