AirTags, Explained: What to Know About Apple’s Bite-Size Trackers

The AirTag monitoring tiles that Apple unveiled last year and which can be available for purchase are a technique the iPhone-maker may also help you monitor non-Apple units. Apple additionally permits its Find My app to find gadgets made by third events

The groundwork for the AirTag was laid in 2014 with the iBeacona small, inexpensive Bluetooth transmitter that supplied location-based data and companies to iPhones. While Bluetooth can monitor gadgets to inside about 5 meters, ultrawideband, or UWB, technology can pinpoint them to inside 5 to 10 centimeters. Rumors that Apple was creating a tool to compete with Tile Bluetooth trackers started in 2019, when hints were found in the code for iOS 13 and the iPhone 11 included UWB tech. Apple lastly debuted its AirTag tracker in April 2021.

Here’s all the pieces you want to know concerning the AirTag, together with the way it works, the place to get accessories and how to buy AirTags.

Read extra: AirTags vs. Tile vs. Samsung SmartTag: Here’s How Apple Compares with the Competition

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What’s an AirTag?

An AirTag works equally to a Tile tag in that you could clip one of many small units onto a key ring, a bag or one thing else with a series. The tag can merely be slipped right into a pockets or bag as effectively. The AirTag may be paired with units like your iPhone, and it really works with the Find My app. (Here’s how AirTags compare with Tile trackers.)

The AirTag is a small, light-weight, stainless-steel disc with the Apple brand on one facet. You can personalize the opposite facet with a free engraving. The system can be water- and dust-resistant, with a detachable cowl designed to make it simple to change the CR2032 battery, which guarantees a 12 months’s value of battery life with on a regular basis use. 

An AirTag clipped to a backpack

With an AirTag keychain, you’ll be able to simply connect your tag to baggage, keys and different gadgets.

Patrick Holland/CNET

How a lot do AirTags price and the place can I purchase one?

AirTags can be found to buy for $29 per tag, or $99 for a four-pack (£29 or £99 within the UK, and AU$45 or AU$149 in Australia). You should purchase them from Apple, Amazon or Best Buy. And although it is not required, you’ll be able to extra simply connect AirTags to your gadgets with a keychain accent, together with one from Hermès. Here’s what Apple is providing: 

In addition, Apple and Hermès created AirTag Hermès, which incorporates a line of handcrafted leather-based bag charms, key rings and journey and baggage tags:

A hand holding an AirTag in a keyring accessory

Keychain holding an AirTag, to clip on to your gadgets. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

How does the AirTag work? 

After you set up the AirTag (here’s how), a course of that works a lot the identical as pairing AirPods, it will seem within the new gadgets tab of the Find My app. You can identify your gadgets as effectively, with options from the app or names of your personal.

From there, you’ll be able to see the merchandise’s final identified location should you’ve hooked up an AirTag to it. If the merchandise is inside Bluetooth vary, you should utilize the Find My app to sign the AirTag’s built-in speaker to play a sound. AirTags even have Siri assist, so your iOS assistant may also help you find the misplaced merchandise. 

An AirTag in the key ring accessory by a phone on a couch

With the Find My app, you’ll be able to pair your AirTags and identify all of the gadgets you have related. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

The tags and the Find My app reap the benefits of Apple’s U1 chip with Ultra Wideband expertise to use Precision Finding, a function that depends on digicam enter, ARKit, accelerometer and gyroscope to information you to your AirTag utilizing sound and haptic and visible suggestions. With the Find My app, you will get useful notes like what number of ft away your AirTag is and in what path. Precision Finding additionally has a voice-over possibility to assist low-vision or blind customers.

If you are out of Bluetooth vary, you’ll be able to put your AirTag into Lost mode and get a notification when it is inside vary of the Find My community. If another person finds your AirTag, he or she can use an iPhone or NFC-capable system (even an Android phone) to view your contact quantity, should you’ve listed it. 

Do AirTags maintain my data personal?

Apple is massive on privateness, and the corporate says folks can take part within the Find My community with out having to share their location with anybody, together with Apple. Carolyn Wolfman-Estrada, an engineer at Apple, stated security options are in place that discourage undesirable monitoring. 

“AirTag is designed to monitor gadgets, not folks,” Wolfman-Estrada stated throughout the Apple spring occasion when the corporate launched AirTags.

However, experiences emerged earlier this 12 months that the devices were being used for stalking. State officers additionally warned the public that AirTags may be abused and misused as a instrument for stalking others. 

Apple has since added a few extra security features to assist stop its AirTags from getting used maliciously. These options embody a shortened time interval wherein a nonowner is notified of an AirTag’s presence, improved warning sounds, a tracker detection app for Android units and an alert at setup stating that the AirTag is linked to your Apple ID and is designed to allow regulation enforcement to request figuring out data on the AirTag’s proprietor.       

There are further issues you are able to do to protect yourself from being tracked.

AirTags do not retailer any location knowledge or historical past, and communication historical past by way of the Find My app is end-to-end encrypted, in accordance to Apple. 

What can I get engraved on my AirTag? 

Apple will engrave one facet of your AirTag without cost after you buy. When you attain the order display, you should utilize the letters of the alphabet, numbers (zero by way of 50), and any of 31 completely different emoji. Because the tag is small, you’ll be able to select up to 4 characters to engrave on the again. As you select your emoji, letters and numbers, you will see a preview of what the tag will appear to be engraved.

Page saying Personalize your AirTag and showing options

A take a look at the emoji engravings you will get in your AirTag.


What do I want to use AirTags?

AirTags will want a tool working iOS 14.5 or later. Users can even want an Apple ID to check in to their iCloud account. Here are the suitable units:

  • iPhone SE, 6S or later
  • iPod Touch seventh era or later
  • iPad Pro, fifth era or later
  • iPad Air 2 or later
  • iPad Mini 4

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What equipment can be found for AirTags?

Four colors of silicone AirTag accessories

ESR’s silicone AirTag keychains are a inexpensive possibility than the Apple x Hermes assortment.


AirTags do not connect to something straight out of the field, so you will want to discover a manner to stick the units in your stuff. Several third-party producers like Belkin, ESR, Nomad and Hermes are selling accessories such as keychains, eyeglasses straps and hard shell mounts that may maintain your AirTag. These equipment vary in worth from $13 to $449. 

Alison DeNisco Rayome contributed to this report. 

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