Apple has introduced AirTag, a small and stylishly designed accessory to help keep track of and find important items with Apple’s Find My app.
AirTag, which could be attached to a handbag, keys, backpack, or other items, taps into the vast, global Find My network and can help locate a lost item while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption, according to Apple.
Each round AirTag is small and lightweight, features precision-etched polished stainless steel, and is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. A built-in speaker plays sounds to help locate AirTag, while a removable cover makes it easy for users to replace the battery.
AirTag features the same setup experience as AirPods. By just bringing AirTag close to iPhone, it will connect. Users can assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default like “Keys” or “Jacket,” or provide a custom name of their choosing.
How to find a lost item using Airtag
Once AirTag is set up, it will appear in the new Items tab in the Find My app, where users can view the item’s current or last known location on a map. If a user misplaces their item and it is within Bluetooth range, they can use the Find My app to play a sound from the AirTag to help locate it. Users can also ask Siri to find their item, and AirTag will play a sound if it is nearby.
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.
If AirTag is separated from its owner and out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help track it down. The Find My network can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag and relay the location back to its owner, all in the background, anonymously and privately.
Users can also place AirTag into Lost Mode and be notified when it is in range or has been located by the vast Find My network. If a lost AirTag is found by someone, they can tap it using their iPhone or any NFC-capable device and be taken to a website that will display a contact phone number for the owner, if they have provided one.
AirTag includes support for the accessibility features built into iOS. Precision Finding using VoiceOver, for example, can direct users who are blind or low-vision to AirTag with directions like “AirTag is 9 feet away on your left.”
Privacy and inbuilt Security
AirTag is designed from the ground up to keep location data private and secure. No location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted so that only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location of any device that helped find it, according to the tech company.
AirTag is also designed with a set of proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking, an industry first. 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.
Airtag Price and availability
Airtag can be purchased in one and four packs for just $29 and $99, respectively, and has been available since April 30.