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Your Most Asked Questions About AirTags, Answered

We've gathered the most popular questions from our readers about Apple's AirTags (including how Apple is updating them to prevent people from misusing them to track people), and answered them.

apple airtags with accessories

Apple's AirTags are little button-sized trackers that can be attached to things like a keychain, a backpack, a bike or any other of your personal belongings. Once set up. they'll then show up on your iPhone's Find My app. This way you can find whatever your AirTag is attached to if it gets misplaced, lost or stolen.

Of course, as with any new gadget there comes a healthy amount of intrigue, skepticism and general uncertainty — and the AirTags are no exception. That's why we've collected a smattering of questions about Apple's AirTags from readers on our Instagram and answered them below.

(We've also updated this post with Apple's new security measures that were announced in early 2022 to prevent people from misusing AirTags to track people. You can read Apple's announcement, here.)

Apple AirTag
Apple amazon.com

What is the range of an AirTag?

AirTags do not have a defined range because they work within the range of Apple's Find My network. This means as long as an AirTag is within Bluetooth range of anybody's iPhone (or other Apple device), it can passively communicate with it and then help you locate it. For example, you can locate an AirTag that's hundreds of miles away so long as somebody with an iPhone walks near it. However, if you lose an AirTag in a remote-but-nearby place that nobody is likely to walk by, like the woods behind your house, you're unlikely to locate it as quick.

What is the distance an individual AirTag can track with Bluetooth?

Apple has not specified the exact Bluetooth range of an AirTag, but it's believed that each AirTag supports Bluetooth 5.0 (same as the latest iPhones), which means it should be trackable within 800 feet.

Do you have to charge an AirTag?

You do not have to charge an AirTag, but you will have to change its battery. Each AirTag relies on a circular CR2032 battery, which you can buy for a few bucks on Amazon. To remove the battery, flip the AirTag over to the polished metal side, push down and twist clockwise.

What is an AirTag's battery life? How long do AirTags last?

Apple claims that the battery of an AirTag should last about one year, but we won't know for sure how accurate that is until a year has gone by since release.

Can I view an AirTag's location history?

No. The FindMy app will allow you to see the current location of any given AirTag that is connected to your account, but you cannot view the path of an AirTag over time, nor is the location history of an AirTag contained within the tag itself. This is in part an attempt by Apple to limit AirTag's utility as a tracking device, in combination with some other security features that will detect and alert you to nearby AirTags that are not yours unless their owner is also nearby.

Can you use AirTags to track pets?

AirTags aren't designed to track pets. This is because if your dog or cat goes really off the grid, an AirTag won't be useful unless they somehow walk by somebody with an iPhone. However, even though Apple doesn't exactly recommend it, you can use an AirTag to track your pets. There's a growing list of third-party AirTag accessories designed specifically for pets.

Can you use AirTags to track people? (And how is Apple preventing the misuse of this?)

Apple baked each AirTag with security features that prevent them from being used to track people. If you have an iPhone running iOS 14.5 (or later) and an AirTag that isn't registered under your Apple ID is "following" you, then it'll alert you via a push notification from the Find My app. If you have an older iPhone that can't run iOS 14.5, or an Android smartphone, you'll still get a warning about orphan AirTags that may be in the vicinity because any AirTag that's been out of range of its parent phone will start making a noise after three days of isolation.

As of early 2022, after a growing number of cases where AirTags were misused to track people (and a lot of public pressure), Apple announced that it would introduce further security measures to AirTags. These new security measures include alerting people earlier if an unknown AirTag has been following them and, for people with an iPhone 11 or later, they'll be able to use precision finding to find the exact location of the unwanted AirTag.

(You can read more about these new AirTag security measures, here.)

How often does an AirTag update its location?

It depends! AirTags don't broadcast their location directly to your phone. Instead, they relay their location information to nearby iPhones or other devices in Apple's Find My network. Those devices then automatically and securely pass on that information to you. If your AirTag is in a busy area where there are lots of iPhones coming and going, its location may be updated as frequently as every minute or two. But if your AirTag is in a comparatively deserted area, you may stop getting location updates altogether, because the AirTag quite literally cannot reach you if there are no other Find My devices in its radius.

What does the "last seen" message mean?

Because AirTags don't actively broadcast their location directly to your phone, their specific whereabouts are only updated when another device using the Find My network passes within proximity of them. The "last seen" message indicates the most recent time that a given AirTag made contact with another Apple device that was able to relay its location to the broader network.

If your AirTag's "last seen" time was a long time ago, it means that AirTag is in a relatively isolated area, without many passing iPhones (or other devices) to report in on its location. It's also possible that your AirTag is no longer where it was last seen, and there just haven't been any devices nearby that can provide an update on its new location.

How many AirTags can you have?

Any given Apple ID can have a maximum of 16 AirTags associated with it at one time.

Are AirTags waterproof?

No, but they are close. Each AirTag has an IP67 water and dust resistance rating, meaning it can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This is roughly the same water-resistance rating as the iPhone SE 2020, but it's not as good as the IP68 rating of the latest iPhones, which allows them to be submerged in six meters of water for 30 minutes.

Can I trigger an AirTag to make a sound?

Yes, if your AirTag is within Bluetooth distance of your phone, you can cause the AirTag to make a sound to help you find it. This is particularly helpful if your phone does not support the more advanced "Precision Finding" feature.

To make your AirTag make a noise, simply go to the FindMy app, click the Items tab, choose the AirTag you want to find, and select Play Sound.

You can also ask Siri to do this for you by saying "Hey Siri, find my [object]."

How are AirTags similar to Tile trackers?

Apple's AirTags and Tile's trackers are actually very similar. Both are tiny location-tracking gadgets that rely on a Bluetooth connection to work. When the tracker is in Bluetooth range (which is around 30 feet), you can open an app on your smartphone or tablet and quickly locate the tracker. When the tracker is not in Bluetooth range of your device, you can set to a "Lost" mode and it will then anonymously communicate with other people devices; when they come into Bluetooth range of the tracker you'll get a notification with your tracker's location without the other person ever have knowledge that they helped you find it.

apple airtag app
Only you can see where your AirTag is. Your location data and history are never stored on the AirTag itself. If you lose your AirTag it can be put into Lost Mode.

How are AirTags different from Tile trackers?

There are two major differences between Apple's AirTags and Tile's trackers. AirTags are able to anonymously communicate with any Apple device that uses Find My network, which includes any iPhone, iPad or Mac. While Tile relies on devices with its Tile app downloaded. Because there are a lot more iPhones (and other Apple devices) then there are devices with Tile's app downloaded, it means that AirTags are going to be better at tracking in these scenarios.

The other big difference is that AirTags have a feature called Precision Finding, which takes takes advantage of Apple's U1 chip (as well as your iPhone's accelerometer and gyroscope). When you're in Bluetooth range, an arrow will appear on your Find My app and it'll point you to the exact location of your AirTag. The catch is that only the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models can take advantage of Precision Tracking, as they're the only iPhones with Apple's U1 chip so far.

apple airtag precision finding
Your iPhone can lead you straight to your AirTag with Precision Finding. Using Ultra Wideband technology, you‘ll see the distance to your AirTag and the direction to head in.

How do you attach AirTags to things?

Unless you can slip the AirTag into a bag or into your wallet, you'll almost definitely need to buy an accessory that's specifically designed for an AirTag — and there's a whole ecosystem of Apple-made or third-party-made accessories for AirTags. There's also tape!

apple airtag hanging on bag

How thick is an AirTag? Can you fit one in your wallet?

An AirTag is a puck-shaped gadget that's 0.31 inches in height and 1.26-inches in diameter. All-in-all, it's about the size of a piece of Mentos candy. It will be able to fit into most wallets, although it won't fit as nicely as if it were as thin as quarter or the shape of a credit card.

airtag wallet

Can an AirTag be shared by multiple family members?

The short answer is no.

Each AirTag can only be associated with one person's Apple ID, which, unfortunately, is why they can't really be shared between with family members. However, if you were to let somebody in your family borrow something that has an AirTag on it, you can select "Pause Safety Alerts" in the AirTag's settings via the Find My app and it will prevent it from making a sound or sending you safety alerts.

Can my AirTag be stolen?

An AirTag that's registered to you can't be stolen and then used by someone else. That's because in order to factory reset the AirTag, you need the consent of the person whose Apple ID it is filed under. If you don't have that consent, all you can technically do is remove the AirTag's battery. If you do this, the owner of the AirTag will only be able to see the AirTag's last known location.

Can you use an AirTag find your phone?

If you attach an AirTag to a phone that doesn't already support the FindMy app (like an older iPhone, or an Android phone), you'll be able to find your phone via its attached AirTag by using any other device with the FindMy app, like another iPhone or an iPad, or by going to iCloud.com.

You are not able to use an individual AirTag to locate an iPhone that it is paired to.

Does an AirTag have a hole for a keychain, or any way to mount a clip or hook?

No, the intended way to use an AirTag as a keychain is to purchase an additional holder accessory, of which there are many. However, if you are daring, it is possible to drill a hole in an AirTag which can be used to attach it directly to a keychain. When done properly, this won't actually impede the AirTag's ability to function. But it may just be easier to buy a keychain, slip the AirTag in an already-existing pocket, or even just use some tape.

Apple AirTag
Apple amazon.com
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