Apple is working on a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that’s designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. Apple is planning to call its tracking accessory the “AirTag.”
What are AirTags?
AirTags are small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items. There are several similar products on the market, such as Tile and Adero, but Apple’s version will be more deeply integrated with Apple devices.
How will AirTags work?
AirTags will have built-in chips that will allow them to connect to an iPhone, relaying the position of devices that they’re attached to. You will be able to use your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to track the location of AirTags much like you do to find missing Apple devices.
How will tracking items with AirTags work?
AirTags will show up in a new “Items” tab that will be available in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices and your friends and family. With AirTags, the Find My app will be a one stop shop for anything that you want to find. Apple added the “Items” tab in iOS 14.5, and it can be used to track third-party Bluetooth accessories that have Find My integration ahead of the launch of the AirTags.
AirTags, like a lost iPhone or iPad, will show up on a map and will have an address listed where they can be tracked to.
What will happen if I lose an item that has an AirTag?
Based on code found in iOS, if you lose an item that has an AirTag on it, you’ll get a notification on your iPhone. You’ll then be able to tap a button in the Find My app that will cause the AirTag to chime loudly so you can locate something that’s lost nearby.
It also appears that augmented reality will play a role in tracking down lost items. The Find My app may include an ARKit feature that lets you use augmented reality to track down an item that’s nearby, with Apple using balloon assets to let you know visually where an item might be.
There’s a string of code in iOS 13 that reads “Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view.”
Will AirTags still work if my item is far away?
Yes. If an item is not nearby and can’t be located, you can put it into Lost Mode. In this mode, if another iPhone user comes across the list item, they’ll be able to see your contact information so they can send you a text or give you a phone call to let you know the item has been found.
You’ll also receive a notification as soon as an iPhone comes across your lost item. This feature that lets any iPhone detect a lost item is was introduced in iOS 13, and it leverages Bluetooth to locate lost Apple devices and when released, AirTags.
Will I be able to set boundaries for AirTags?
Yes. In the Find My app, you can create Safe Locations. If an item with an Apple Tag is in a safe location (such as your home), you’re not going to receive a notification when it’s left behind.
If it leaves the safe location, you’ll get a notification. You can also share the location of items with friends and family.
How accurate are AirTags?
AirTags are rumored to be more accurate than your average Bluetooth item tracker like Tile because they’re said to take advantage of ultra-wideband technology, which basically offers more accurate indoor positioning.
Apple’s newest iPhones have a U1 ultra-wideband chip so they’re going to be able to track ultra-wideband equipped AirTags more precisely than is possible with Bluetooth alone.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the use of an ultra-wideband chip in AirTags will “enhance the user experience of iOS’s ‘find’ and augment reality (AR) applications by offering measurement functions in the short distance.”
Will there be a replaceable battery?
Apple’s AirTags could feature a removable and replaceable CR2032 coin battery, similar to the Tile Pro. A description of the tag found in iOS 14 code suggests the battery can be swapped out by unscrewing the back cover of the AirTag and then performing a counter-clockwise twisting motion.
A CR2032 battery would not be rechargeable and would require the battery to be replaced each year on average. The existence of the removable battery conflicts with other rumors that have suggested the AirTags would feature a rechargeable battery that charges with an Apple Watch-style charging puck, so Apple could be testing multiple prototypes.
How do I prevent someone from tracking me with AirTags?
To prevent AirTags and other Find My-compatible Bluetooth accessories from being used to stalk or track a person, the Find My app has a feature that lets you know if there’s a Bluetooth item near you. You will receive a notification when an unknown item is found and moving with you, so you can make sure no one slips an AirTag or other Find My Bluetooth device into your things to track you.
When will AirTags be released?
Apple in early April launched the Find My Network Accessory Program to allow third-party devices to integrate with the Find My app, and this could be a sign that it is planning to launch AirTags in the near future. AirTags could possibly see a debut at the first Apple event of 2021, which will take place on Tuesday, April 20.
AirTags aren’t out yet, but that hasn’t stopped accessory makers from creating accessories to go with the upcoming item trackers, with these designs based on rumors. Airtag Case Here: https://www.casemecase.com/buy/airtag-case/