How to use an Apple AirTag

Losing things is easy. People do it every day, especially in their own homes. You might have more than a few thoughts cluttering your mind when you walk in the door after a mentally exhausting day, so you absently toss your keys down in some obscure location. And that’s all it takes.

Finding the misplaced item, however, is the opposite of easy. It can require minutes, hours, days or even longer. Sometimes, you end up never finding the misplaced item. An Apple AirTag is specifically designed to help you locate nearby items, like your TV remote. But these handy devices can be used for finding more than wallets, purses and keys.

What is an Apple AirTag?

An Apple AirTag is a small disk that you attach to items you commonly misplace so you can find them more easily.

How does an Apple AirTag work?

When misplaced items are nearby, the AirTag pings its location to your device via Bluetooth technology. Because of Apple’s precision finding feature on the iPhone 11 and up, you can pinpoint objects with incredible accuracy and be guided directly to where they are.

When objects are further than roughly 30 feet away, the AirTag will anonymously utilize any Apple mobile device that comes close to your lost item to update its location on the Find My network, so you can find it by using the Find My app on your iPhone.

What are Apple AirTag limitations?

Apple AirTag is not an anti-theft device. It will not protect your items from getting stolen. It does, however, function as an ID tag, so lost items can be scanned by other iPhones and Android devices with near-field communication technology. Doing this will give people a way to contact you if they find your lost item.

Another limitation is that an Apple device must be within 30 feet of your lost item for you to find it. If you drop your keys in the wilderness on a trail, you won’t be able to find them unless someone with an Apple device happens to pass within 30 feet of your keys.

The last limitation is Apple’s AirTag is designed to work with stationary items. If you hang it from your pet’s collar and your pet gets lost, you will receive an update of where your pet was. However, there is no guarantee they will still be in the same location by the time you get there. The same goes for people who want to use this device to protect their child. For this reason, the Apple AirTag is not suitable for use on pets or children. A pet tracker, which uses GPS and cellular signals, is a much better option. For keeping track of children, Apple recommends using an Apple Watch.

Are Apple AirTags dangerous?

Unfortunately, Apple AirTags can be used to track unsuspecting people. If someone clips an AirTag onto a backpack or has an opportunity to slip a disk into your belongings, they can stalk you. To help guard against this scenario, an AirTag will alert your iPhone — usually when you get home or to another frequent place you visit — that an unknown AirTag is nearby and has been tracking you. You can then disable the unknown AirTag and notify the authorities.

30 smart uses for an Apple AirTag

Admittedly, the technology is cool. But does an Apple AirTag have any practical uses? Definitely! Here are 30 ways to use your Airtag.

  • Place an AirTag on essential items. An AirTag can keep tabs on things you frequently use, such as a wallet, headphones, chargers, a purse, earrings, or a laptop.
  • Place an AirTag on emergency items. An AirTag can be placed on items you may need to find quickly, such as a flashlight, an EpiPen, a first aid kit, spare light bulbs or an umbrella.
  • Place an AirTag on items you commonly misplace or have trouble finding. There are many things you place down absently, which you have trouble finding when you need them. These items can include keys, remotes, luggage, your car (in a parking lot or garage) or even your blanket at the beach (when you go for a stroll)
  • Place an AirTag on things you want to be able to find. AirTags are great for keeping track of items that different people may use. This could be a child’s favorite toy, a tool, crafting supplies, or small appliances. [Note: An AirTag battery will last at least a year.]
  • Place an AirTag on hidden objects. If you want to keep something a secret but are afraid you’ll forget where you hid it, an AirTag can be a great tool. This would include any surprise items such as birthday presents, Christmas presents, gift cards, holiday decorations or even items hidden for a scavenger hunt.
  • Place an AirTag on things you want to protect from theft. A thief can only remove an AirTag if they can find it. Hiding an AirTag beneath a bike seat, inside the pocket (or lining) of an expensive article of clothing or a backpack are all ways you might be able to retrieve something that has been taken from you.
  • Use AirTags to keep from getting lost. If you like to explore, whether walking through the wilderness or spelunking through a cave, dropping an occasional AirTag at strategic locations can help ensure you will not get lost and can quickly find your way back home.

Apple AirTags and accessories

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag

This is the Apple AirTag. You can use it to find items you misplace. It features a one-tap setup, has a built-in speaker to play an alert sound and works with Siri.

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Apple AirTag Four-Pack

Apple AirTag Four-Pack

If you know you will need more than one Apple AirTag, it’s best to buy them in a pack of four because you can get them at a reduced price.

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Apple AirTag Leather Loop

Apple AirTag Leather Loop

This tanned European leather strap adds a touch of elegance to your tagging. The strap wraps around whatever you want to tag and snaps in place. It comes in red, Baltic blue, California poppy, forest green, Meyer lemon and saddle brown. The AirTag is not included.

Sold by Amazon

Apple AirTag Leather Key Ring

Apple AirTag Leather Key Ring

The Apple AirTag leather key ring is a shorter version of the leather loop. It comes with a stainless steel key ring to make it more suitable for tagging your keys. It is available in red, midnight, forest green, wisteria, saddle brown and golden brown.

Sold by Amazon

Apple AirTag Loop

Apple AirTag Loop

If you prefer a different material, this loop is made from polyurethane. It works the same way as the leather loop but comes in different colors: deep navy, pink citrus and white.

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Belkin AirTag Case with Key Ring

Belkin AirTag Case with Key Ring

This key ring is manufactured by Belkin and costs significantly less than the Apple version. It is made of hard plastic and twists together, but other than that, this accessory serves the same purpose as Apple’s key ring.

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Smartish Pet Collar Holder 2 Pack for Apple AirTag

Smartish Pet Collar Holder 2 Pack for Apple AirTag

Although Apple doesn’t recommend using its AirTag to track your pets, companies still manufacture accessories designed specifically for that purpose. This offering from Smartish is water-resistant and attaches securely to pet collars up to 1.5 inches thick. Best of all, it comes in a two-pack, so it is affordably priced.

Sold by Amazon

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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