At Apple’s recent Spring Loaded event, the company led with the announcement of a bold extension to its Find My ecosystem. With the new AirTag, you need never lose your keys, wallet, or bag again. Here’s the full lowdown.
What is an AirTag?
The AirTag itself is a tiny disc-shaped accessory that can be attached to or placed in keys, handbags, backpacks, or any other items that you might wish to keep tabs on.
It achieves this by utilizing Apple’s Find My network, already in popular use to locate lost iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more. It also features a U1 chip, which employs Ultra Wideband technology to determine the AirTag’s precise location in relation to your iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 for even more accurate finding.
Each tag is partially made of precision-etched polished stainless steel, can be custom-etched with a design of your choosing. It also has a removable cover so that you can replace the battery. AirTags are water and dust-resistant, with an IP67 rating ensuring that they’ll be able to resist full immersion.
How do AirTags work?
Just bring an AirTag close to an iPhone, and it will connect. You can then assign your AirTag a name and associate it with an object.
The Find My app will then show you the associated item’s current or last known location on a map. If you’re within Bluetooth range, you’ll be able to have your AirTag play a sound.
If you own an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12, Find My can use input from the phone’s camera, ARKit data, accelerometer, and gyroscope to guide you to your lost object with sound, haptics, and visual feedback. The visually impaired can be directed to their lost item via vocal prompts.
AirTags can also be detected by other devices in the billion-strong Find My network when out of immediate Bluetooth range. If you mark an AirTag as ‘Lost’ in this way, anyone who finds it can tap it with an NFC-equipped phone, and they will be taken to a website with your contact details.
Despite their impressive tracking capabilities, AirTags are extremely secure. No location data or history is physically stored on the AirTag itself, while any communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted.
No one, including Apple itself, knows the identity or location of any device on the Find My network that helps find a lost AirTag. Meanwhile, the Bluetooth signal identifiers that AirTag transmits are rotated frequently to prevent third-party location tracking.
Price, availability, accessories
AirTags can be purchased for $29/£29 each, while $99/£99 will secure you a pack of four. They can be ordered from Friday, April 23, and will be made available on Friday, April 30.
Alongside the AirTag itself, Apple is creating an ecosystem of holders, lanyards, keyrings, and other accessories to help physically connect these tiny trackers to your items. Apple has also teamed up with Hermès to produce a series of leather AirTag accessories, including the eye-wateringly expensive Bag Charm, Key Ring, Travel Tag, and Luggage Tag.