price, release date, functions, all about the object tracker

Apple’s AirTag is a lost, forgotten or stolen item tracker. Slipped into or attached to an object, it allows you to find it regardless of the distance that separates you from it. How does it work, does it work without an iPhone, how to use it, what can and cannot be done… We come back to all these points in this dossier.

Apple Air Tag

After Samsung, Apple launches its own object tracker to compete with the manufacturer Tile. Called AirTag, this long-awaited accessory has its own specificities, Apple ecosystem requires. To know everything about it and understand how it works, we have compiled all the essential information to know about this small device.

What is the price of the AirTag?

In France, an AirTag is marketed at the price of 35 euros. Apple also offers a pack of four AirTags for 119 eurosa little less than 30 euros per unit.

Photo by airtag-apple

AirTag Apple

Locate and then find your objects, and locate your loved ones or your devices in the Find My app…

These prices were updated on 03/02/2022 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are authentic.

When is the AirTag coming out?

The AirTag has been available on the market (Apple Store and resellers) since 2021.

Apple Air Tag

Which smartphones are compatible with AirTags?

The use of AirTags is only possible through devices from the Apple ecosystem. All devices that have iOS 14.5 or higher operating system have the ability to be connected to AirTags.

  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and newer models are compatible.
  • iPad Pro 5th generation, iPad Air 2nd generation, iPad Mini 4th generation and newer models are compatible.
  • iPod Touch 7th generation and newer models are compatible.

The device in question must also be signed into an iCloud account to set up the AirTag.

The AirTag, what is it for?

The AirTag is an object tracker, a bluetooth beacon that we hang on an object that we are afraid of losing or that we want to find quickly at any time: a key ring, a suitcase, a backpack, a briefcase, a wallet, or even smartphone, laptop…

When you want to get your hands on an object equipped with an AirTag, you just have to open an application, called Locatewhich will geolocate the AirTag and direct the user to it.

How big is an AirTag?

The AirTag adopts a circular shape and a compact format. Small and light, it does not encumber the object that it must accompany. It measures 31.9mm by 31.9mm for 8mm thick and weighs only 11 grams. The device is made of polished stainless steel and certified IP67 water and dust resistant. We note the presence of a discreet removable hatch that allows you to easily remove and change the battery. A speaker is also integrated and is used to produce sounds that help the user locate the AirTag.

Apple Air Tag

Besides, if you’re interested, iFixit has just published a detailed teardown of the AirTags. The latter allows us to appreciate how compact they are and how Apple has not wasted any space inside. We learn in passing how Apple managed to hide a powerful speaker in such a small device, and it’s rather clever!

What accessories to hang an AirTag?

AirTags are sold alone, they can only be slipped into a container. To attach an AirTag to an object, you must use an accessory. Apple offers official solutions, such as a polyurethane, light and resistant lanyard, a leather lanyard or a leather keychain. The apple brand specifies that it is a European leather “with a unique tanning”. Accessories are used to attach and hang an AirTag wherever you want while adding a touch of personalization. A luxury version of the accessories is also available through a partnership with Hermès.

If you opt for official accessories, be aware that such a purchase will at least double the initial investment. Here are the prices displayed:

  • Polyurethane strap in the colors White, Deep Navy, Sunflower and Electric Orange: 35 euros.
  • Leather strap in Saddle Brown and RED colors: 45 euros.
  • Leather key fob in the colors Saddle Brown, RED and Baltic Blue: 39 euros.

For luxury accessories from Hermès, the prices are as follows:

  • AirTag Hermès bag accessory: 299 euros.
  • Hermès AirTag key ring: 349 euros.
  • AirTag Hermès luggage accessory: 449 euros.

For users who do not intend to spend so much money for an object tracker accessory -and we understand them-, there are alternatives from third-party manufacturers. At Belkin, for example, it is possible to acquire AirTag protection with a key ring or lanyard for €13.49even cheaper at some retailers.

Apple Air Tag

What is the autonomy of the AirTag?

Apple states that the AirTag is equipped with a CR2032 battery which should provide power for approximately a year. Once it’s gone flat, just replace it. This type of battery is easily found on the market and the operation to change the AirTag battery is very simple.

An AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip designed by Apple. This component, which can also be found on iPhones since the 11th generation, uses Ultra Wideband technology which makes it possible to offer particularly precise geolocation functionalities. This is able to determine with more precision the position and the distance at which we are from the AirTag. Note that to benefit from this “Precise location” function, you must be equipped with a device with the same chip, namely for the moment an iPhone of the 11, 12 or 13 series. Precise location aggregates data camera, ARKit, accelerometer and gyroscope to guide the user to the AirTag using sound, haptics and visual cues.

What is interesting with AirTags is their interweaving in the Apple ecosystem and in particular in the Locate network. When a tracker is not within range of Bluetooth, then this network is responsible for finding it. It then leverages all other Apple devices that make up the network to detect the lost AirTag’s Bluetooth signals, all in the background and of course. Once it is located thanks to this system, the information goes back to the owner of the AirTag.

Setting up the AirTag is very simple. Pairing with your device is done the same way as with AirPods. The tracker then appears in the Find My app, which gives you the option to rename your devices. The easiest way is to choose the name of the object to which the tag will be attached.

Apple Air Tag

You receive a notification on your iPhone as soon as you move too far from an object on which you have placed an AirTag. This allows you to react quickly if you have forgotten, lost or stolen one of your goods. Via the application, you can define a distance around you, from which you will be notified if the beacon goes out of the field.

When you notice the loss of a tracked object, you can then place the AirTag in lost mode. You will then receive a notification if it is near you or if it has been detected by one or more devices in the Locate network, which lists nearly a billion devices. If someone finds a lost AirTag, they can bring their iPhone or NFC-enabled Android smartphone to it. He will then be redirected to a website that will display the contact details of the tag owner. So be sure to fill in your contact details.

When you declare a lost AirTag, the application therefore gives you its approximate real-time position, calculated based on the Apple devices of other network users. Once you’re nearby, you can trigger a ringtone to locate it by sound. It is also possible to be guided to the AirTag via a augmented reality tool on compatible iPhones and iPads. As explained earlier, at this time it is the U1 chip that takes over and can therefore locate the tracker very precisely thanks to the ultra-wideband frequencies.

Apple Air Tag

The AirTag and location feature supports some accessibility options of iOS, including VoiceOver, to guide blind or visually impaired people to their AirTag. Voice prompts like “The AirTag is 3 meters on your left” are then dictated. The user can also ask the voice assistant Siri to search for an object so that it emits an identifiable sound to detect it.

Can you track someone with an AirTag?

For years, Apple has focused on protecting the personal data and privacy of its customers. And even for an object tracker, the Cupertino company guarantees information security. The product does not store no location data or location history. AirTag communications with the Locate network are end-to-end encrypted: only the device owner is able to access location data. Not even Apple can access the identity or location of a device used to perform the search.

The AirTag also stands out for incorporating features that discourage unwanted tracking. The Bluetooth identifiers transmitted by the device are swapped regularly, helping to prevent location tracking by a third party through the traces left by Bluetooth connectivity.

Apple Air Tag

Finally, the American giant has ensured that the AirTag cannot be used to track an individual, but remains confined to an object tracker role. To do this, iOS devices can detect an AirTag separated from its owner and which would have unfortunately ended up on you. You are then informed after a certain time that an unknown AirTag accompanies you on your travels. An Android application allows you to do the same on phones that are not iPhones.

You then have the option of getting rid of it, or deactivating it: all you have to do is bring your iPhone near the AirTag, instructions will then appear on the screen to start the deactivation. Note that an AirTag separated for too long of its owner will make a sound to alert of its presence. Unfortunately, beacons tampered with to stop ringing are on sale.

Photo by airtag-apple

AirTag Apple

Locate and then find your objects, and locate your loved ones or your devices in the Find My app…

These prices were updated on 03/02/2022 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are authentic.

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