AirTags: Apple’s tracking gadget
Apple released AirTags, its tracking gadget, during an online event, along with the Macbook Pro, Airpods 3, and HomePod mini speaker.
The AirTags comes are integrated with iOS and this kind of electronic tag can be attached to personal objects, allowing its tracking via smartphones and other Apple devices.
The device is now on sale on the Apple website. Separate units are sold for $29.00, while four-packs are sold for $99.00.
How to use AirTags?
First, AirTags connects to iPhones by approximation. If you prefer, you can name all your devices by doing this in “Settings”.
That way, it will be easier to find your device when searching.
Next, you will need to download the Find My app, which will search for your AirTag wherever it is.
As for the location of registered devices, don’t worry, Apple guarantees data security.
How do I find my AirTag?
Apple provides two tools for locating an AirTag on a map. The first and easiest is to go to the Find My app on iOS or iPadOS, then go to the “Tools” tab.
You will then see your AirTag(s) on a map and may even request a route to find you.
If it’s close enough, you can use the Precise Location feature.
In augmented reality, you can then approach the AirTag by following the swing of an arrow that shows you the direction to go.
The other, less comprehensive solution is to use the Find My app via iCloud. In theory, you should be able to see your AirTags there, at least that’s what Apple guarantees.
Plus, you can locate AirTags via voice control with Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri.
In this case, when asking Siri, for example, “where is my bag”?, the AirTags will beep and you can find the object if it is nearby.
Apple Devices Compatible with AirTags
All iPadOS and iOS 14.5 compatible devices support AirTags. They are:
- iPhones SE 1st and 2nd generation, 6s and 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus, X, Xr, Xs and Xs Max, 11, 11 Pro and Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini and 12 Pro and Pro Max ;
- iPod Touch 7th generation;
- iPad Air 2, 3rd, and 4th generation;
- iPad Mini 4 and 5th generation;
- 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th generation iPads, 9.7, 10.5, 11, and 12.9 inch iPad Pro.
Technologies used for localization
AirTags use Ultra-Wideband, UWB technology, a technology to transmit/receive radio waves in a very wide frequency band and at a very short range.
AirTag emits short, low-power pulses, often less than a nanosecond.
When received by an Apple product, the iPhone or iPad estimates position by trilateration.
Another advantage of UWB is that it consumes very little power compared to Bluetooth.
This means that the devices ‘communicate’ with one another in order to better locate each other.
The second technology is Bluetooth LE, for Low Energy. The detection of AirTags is based on a mesh network that depends on all active Apple products.
When an AirTag passes near an iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc., a secure and anonymous connection allows the Search network to determine its location.
Obviously, the greater the number of devices, the more precisely the location is established.
In total, there are approximately one billion Apple devices that serve as the foundation for this network.
It is important to note that devices indicate the location without themselves locating it or being able to spy on an AirTag.
What if the AirTags are stolen?
It can happen that someone steals your AirTag and the item that comes with it.
However, even if they remove the battery, they will not be able to pair the tag with their own account.
Therefore, they will have in their hands a key chain and nothing else.
What is the power supply and how long does it last?
AirTags do not come with a rechargeable battery, but with CR2032 batteries that are easily replaceable.
Apple advises that a battery should give your AirTag about one year of life.
Also, it’s easy to monitor your battery status in the Find My app, in which case AirTags will let you know when it runs out of power soon.
What should you do if you find AirTags?
Follow these steps if you find an AirTag or a lost item with an AirTag next to it:
- First, tap and hold the top of your NFC-enabled iPhone or smartphone along the white side of the AirTag.
- Then tap the displayed notification. This will open a website with information about the AirTag, including the serial number.
- Finally, if the owner has marked the AirTag as lost, you may see a message with information on how to contact the owner.
That way, you can contact the owner to let them know that you found the AirTag.
What to do when an object equipped with AirTags is lost?
First, you should activate “lost” mode as soon as you notice that you have lost an object equipped with an AirTag and that it is out of your reach or in an inaccessible place.
That way, you can make your AirTag display a message on the smartphone (iOS or Android) of someone who finds it.
This message includes your phone number to be contacted. It is also possible to ask to be alerted if it is found.
You will then receive a notification from the Find My app that will inform you of the address where the AirTag was activated.
Can Apple know our position?
No. At this point, we have to believe in Apple, but it has a track record that argues in its favor.
Bluetooth connections used for “general” locations are encrypted so that neither Apple nor other users can track an AirTag.
Only the owner of the account linked to the tag can see the precise location of their AirTags.
However, for security reasons, Apple currently does not allow sharing the location of a tag with another user, even within an Apple family.
AirTags are waterproof
The AirTag is IP67 certified, that is, it can be submerged in water up to one meter deep for a maximum of thirty minutes without issues caused by water pressure and signal propagation.
For you to understand better, the IP (Ingress Protection) certification stands for “Ingress Protection” and indicates how much the gaps existing in the devices can be resistant against water and dust.
Did you like this news from Apple?
Did you already know Apple’s AirTags? Wanted to buy one after you read our article? Tell us in the comments. And don’t forget to learn more about Astro, Amazon’s household robot as well as Echo Show 15!