AirTags: Apple's worst-kept secret is finally here

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,905   +760
Staff member
In brief: AirTags are Apple's entry into the tracking fob market. These small circular devices tap into Apple's recently expanded Find My network. Similar to Tile, just slip these in a pocket or attach to a keychain, and you can locate it using your iPhone.

The Cupertino tech giant has finally unveiled its AirTag accessory during their Spring Loaded event. AirTags use an end-to-end encrypted signal to ping nearby devices that are on the Find My network, including non-Apple accessories.

Users can then use the Find My app on their iPhone, iPad, or Mac to locate the fob and whatever is attached to it.

AirTags are made of polished stainless steel and are rated IP67 for water and dust resistance. The fob has a removable cover for replacing the battery when needed. Setting one up is a cinch and works just like syncing AirPods. Simply bring it close to your iPhone and it automatically detects and connects. Then assign it to an item and give it a name like Backpack in the Find My app and you're good to go.

"[The U1 chip's] 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."

In addition to pinpointing the location on a map, Find My has a wayfinder that points in the direction and shows the distance to a lost AirTag. Users can also command it to play a sound, just like other devices that use the network. If you have ever lost your keys in the couch cushions, you can appreciate the utility of tracking fobs like the AirTag.

Customers can buy Apple AirTags individually for $29 or in a four-pack for $99, with availability starting April 30. Purchases also include free engraving, so customers can personalize their trackers. There are also a variety of accessories, like luggage tags and keychains, which are sold separately.

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azicat

Posts: 68   +60
"The fob has a removable cover for replacing the battery when needed"

Good. Tile took their sweet time with releasing a replaceable battery (cheekily named 'pro' for professional key-losing). Let's also hope this in-house effort doesn't drain the phone's power as much as the Tile app.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,905   +760
Staff member
"The fob has a removable cover for replacing the battery when needed"

Good. Tile took their sweet time with releasing a replaceable battery (cheekily named 'pro' for professional key-losing). Let's also hope this in-house effort doesn't drain the phone's power as much as the Tile app.
If professional key-losing was a sport, I'd be the champion annually.

How does this communicate with your iPhone though to locate it? Wouldn't it require a SIM card in it or connection to wifi?
Yes. The Find My network is kinda cool really. Back in the early days when it was just "Find My iPhone," the app could only get a general location of your iPhone by pinging it and locating the cell tower that received the return ping. It got better over the years, but accuracy really improved when Apple incorporated WiFi. Now, using a combination of WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular Find My creates a network of Apple and some non-Apple devices. When you want to find your iPhone or in this case, AirTag, Find My app pings it, and it sends out an encrypted token that any Apple device (some non-Apple) can accept as long as location services are not disabled. So now Find My can pinpoint the location of a device with very high accuracy as long as there are other Apple devices nearby.
 

MasterMace

Posts: 171   +141
If professional key-losing was a sport, I'd be the champion annually.


Yes. The Find My network is kinda cool really. Back in the early days when it was just "Find My iPhone," the app could only get a general location of your iPhone by pinging it and locating the cell tower that received the return ping. It got better over the years, but accuracy really improved when Apple incorporated WiFi. Now, using a combination of WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular Find My creates a network of Apple and some non-Apple devices. When you want to find your iPhone or in this case, AirTag, Find My app pings it, and it sends out an encrypted token that any Apple device (some non-Apple) can accept as long as location services are not disabled. So now Find My can pinpoint the location of a device with very high accuracy as long as there are other Apple devices nearby.

To shorten this, Skynet tells where your stuff is.
 

m-tec

Posts: 92   +50
I'm surprised they have not got it in a watch strap for kids or old people to wear! Could also be good for locating a lost drone if it goes down!