AirTag: Everything you need to know about Apple’s item tracker
AirTag is Apple's rumored Tile-like item tracker.
Apple has officially unveiled its first-ever item tracker. AirTag is available to order now for $29, and it features deep integration with Apple’s ecosystem and the Find My network. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
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What is a Tile?
A Tile is a popular third-party Bluetooth item tracker. It’s a small square device that you affix to an item, and from there, you can easily track it via the Tile application on your iPhone.
For instance, you could attach a Tile Pro to your keys, and use the app to locate your keys should you misplace them. You can also view items on a map, play a sound via the Tile itself, and more. Tile item trackers have become incredibly popular over the last several years, so it makes sense for Apple to integrate such functionality directly into iOS.
The AirTag features a small circular design with a white finish on the front and a stainless steel back. You can also personalize your AirTag with emojis, numbers, and letters.
Apple touts that AirTags have a “lightweight design,” and there are two key factors to this: water resistance and a user-replaceable battery. Apple says AirTags are rated for IP67 water and dust resistance, while the battery inside is a CR2032, which is a standard coin cell battery.
Apple also says that AirTag offers “over a year’s worth of battery life with everyday use,” and features a removable cover for when the time comes to replace the battery.
AirTag is splash-, water-, and dust-resistant and was tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529 (maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes). Splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear.
Integration with iOS
The true selling point of Apple AirTags is its integration with iOS. It is believed that you will be able to access your item trackers via the “Find My” device on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Once the item trackers are available, there will be a new “Items” tab in the Find My application for all of the things you choose to track.
The item tracker itself will be paired to a user’s iCloud account by proximity to an iPhone, much like AirPods. There is a limit of 16 AirTags per Apple ID, according to Apple.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to put Apple’s item tracker in “Lost Mode” – which means the tag will store your contact information, allowing other iPhone and Android users to read that information. In such instances, you’ll receive a notification when your item has been found.
Ultimately, what this means is that you’ll be able to attach AirTag to any device – such as your wallet, keys, backpack, and more – and track that item via the Find My app on your iOS device and Mac.
Each AirTag incorporates a U1 chip, which Apple says enables unique precision tracking features for users with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. The U1 chip can be used to more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag when it is in range, using what Apple calls “Precision Tracking.”
Each AirTag is equipped with the Apple-designed U1 chip using Ultra Wideband technology, enabling Precision Finding for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users. This advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag when it is in range. As a user moves, Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope, and then will guide them to AirTag using a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback.
AirTag is also designed with a handful of privacy features in mind. One of the most notable things here are “proactive features” that are there to “discourage unwanted tracking.” Apple explains:
Bluetooth signal identifiers transmitted by AirTag rotate frequently to prevent unwanted location tracking. iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn’t with its owner, and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be traveling with them from place to place over time. And even if users don’t have an iOS device, an AirTag separated from its owner for an extended period of time will play a sound when moved to draw attention to it. If a user detects an unknown AirTag, they can tap it with their iPhone or NFC-capable device and instructions will guide them to disable the unknown AirTag.
You can buy a singular AirTag for $29 or a pack of four for $99. Apple is also selling a range of accessories for AirTag, including key ring holders, leather loops, and more. These accessories are also now available to order. A variety of more affordable AirTag accessories have also appeared on Amazon.
The early AirTag reviews have been overwhemlingly positive, with reviewers praising the deep integration with the Find My ecosystem. The $29 price point has also been well-received n, though many have noted that you’ll likely have to also buy a key ring or acecssory of some sort separately.
AirTag release date
AirTag was released for pre-order on April 23, 2021. The first orders arrive to customers on April 30.