You may be wondering what AirTags are and how they work. In this article we will explain what AirTags are, how to use them and more questions.
What is an AirTag?
AirTags are small, coin-shaped devices developed by Apple. They are designed to help users keep track of and locate their belongings. AirTags use Bluetooth technology to connect to an iPhone, allowing users to track the location of the tagged items through the "Find My" app.
How do AirTags work?
Users can interact with their AirTags through the Find My app provided by Apple. AirTags have built-in speakers and a sound will play so you can easily find the item attached to them. Apple devices that support Precision Finding (iPhone 11,iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max) are able to lead their owners directly to the AirTag by indicating them the distance and direction.
AirTags, however, aren't satellite navigation devices, they do not have GPS. Rather than that, they use Bluetooth signals that are detected by other devices in the Find My network. Once this signal is detected, it is sent to iCloud so whenever you connect to the app, you will be able to see the item on the map. It is important to note that the information is encrypted so your privacy is safe.
Users also get an alert if someone else's AirTag seems to be in their possession. This is also the case if an AirTag has been out of range of any Apple device for too long - it begins to beep in order to alert a person that an AirTag is in their possession. Users can also mark an item as lost and provide their phone number so other iPhone users can identify it and message them.
What can you use AirTags for?
Apple AirTags can help you track pretty much anything, in theory. Although they are not the best solution for tracking moving objects, like a pet or child. And because of their reliance of Bluetooth signals, they wouldn't be very useful for tracking someone or something that is lost in a remote area, like a forest. As they are not pure GPS trackers, they aren't very good for real time tracing.
What are the main features of AirTags?
- Precision Finding: With the help of augmented reality (AR) and sound cues, the Find My app can guide users directly to the location of their AirTagged item with high accuracy.
- Find My Network: AirTags leverage the vast network of Apple devices to locate lost items. When an AirTag is out of Bluetooth range, it can utilise other nearby Apple devices to anonymously relay its location back to the owner.
- Customisation: Users can personalise their AirTags by giving them names and assigning them to specific items within the Find My app. This allows for easy identification and organization of multiple AirTags.
- Separation Alerts: AirTags can notify users if they become separated from their tagged items. This can help prevent accidental loss or theft.
- Privacy and Security: AirTags are designed with privacy in mind. They use end-to-end encryption to ensure that only the owner of the AirTag has access to its location data. Additionally, AirTags are designed to discourage unwanted tracking and provide features to help detect unauthorized use.
How much do AirTags cost?
A single Apple AirTag costs $29, whereas a pack of four costs $99. This includes a free engraving service, delivery at an Apple store, and returns.
How do I activate an Apple AirTag?
- Your iPhone will need to be able to run iOS 14.5 or later. You can check this by going into: Settings > General > About > Software Version
- You will need to enable two-factor authentication. Settings > [Your Name] > Password & Security > Two-Factor Authentication > On
- Location services need to be turned on: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > On
- Find My needs to be turned on: Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > On
- Bluetooth needs to be turned on: Settings > Bluetooth > On
- Connect your phone to Wi-Fi or 4G/5G
Activate the AirTag
- Remove the battery tab - there will be a beep to confirm the battery is working
- Place the AirTag near your iPhone. Your iPhone will automatically recognise it, and a pop-up with "AirTag" will appear. Select Connect.
- Give the AirTag a name from the list, or choose Custom to give it a unique name. Continue and confirm that you are registering the AirTag with your desired Apple ID. Once you have finished, the AirTag will be synched with your account and device.
What is the AirTag range?
The range of an AirTag is around 10m, but it ultimately depends on the Bluetooth range of anybody's iPhone (or other Apple device). An AirTag needs to be within 10m of an iPhone for it to connect to the Find My network and passively communicate with other devices. For example, you lose your wallet, but have placed an AirTag in it, someone with an iPhone will need to walk within at least 10m of the wallet for the AirTag to ping the Find My network.
Are AirTags waterproof?
They are water resistant, not fully waterproof. They should survive being in just under 1m of water for 30 minutes. It will be fine in the rain, but it is unlikely that it will survive prolonged exposure to deep water.
How many AirTags can I register?
You can register a total of 16 AirTags to one Apple ID. This should be more than enough to cover all of your valuables.
How long do AirTag batteries last?
The battery inside an AirTag is a simple CR2032 lithium 3V coin battery. They should last for about a year with four daily location pings (although in reality, depending on your location, it could be much higher than this).
How do I replace an Apple AirTag battery?
To replace an AirTag battery, press down on the silver part of the AirTag and turn it counterclockwise. Take out the old battery and put in a new one in the same orientation. You will hear a beep from the AirTag to tell you that the battery is working.
How do I find an Apple AirTag?
- To find an AirTag, go to the Find My app and select the AirTag name that you want to find (you may have more than one). You will then see on a map where that AirTag was last located.
- If the AirTag is in close proximity to yourself, swipe up to have more options. You can then play a sound. The AirTag will then beep. You can use these sounds to locate your AirTag.
If you have an iPhone 11 or more recent then you can use the Precision Finding option. This will give you a directional arrow and an approximate distance to the AirTag.
Are AirTags safe?
AirTags are safe to use when used for their intended purpose. However there have already been several instances of people being involuntarily tracked by AirTags.
If you are an iPhone user Apple will alert you to when an unknown AirTag is on your person / in close proximity and following your movements. This same level of protection is also available for Android users, however they will need to download the AirGuard, AirTag protection app from the Google Play store.