The Apple AirTag is a lost, forgotten or stolen object 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 we can and cannot do… We come back to all these points in this dossier.

Apple AirTag

A few months 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 sold at the price of 35 euros. We could have feared a higher price knowing Apple, but the Cupertino company has for once preferred to position itself on the prices of its competitors on the market. Recently, Samsung launched its Galaxy SmartTag at the same price. The leader of the sector, Tile, had also bet on a price of 35 euros for its tracker Tile Pro released last year, now available at a lower cost.

Apple also offers a pack of four AirTags for 119 euros, or a little less than 30 euros per unit.

Photo by airtag-apple

Apple AirTag

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

These prices were updated on 05/11/2021 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are valid.

When is the AirTag released?

The AirTag was officially presented by Apple at a new product introduction conference held on April 20, 2021. Pre-orders are open from April 23 for a period of one week on Apple’s official website. By purchasing an AirTag not this way, you also have the option of having it engraved with a combination of emojis, text and numbers at no additional cost.

The effective marketing of the AirTag is scheduled for the April 30, 2021.

Apple AirTag

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 of the operating system have the option of being 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 in to an iCloud account to configure the AirTag.

What is the AirTag 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 anytime: a keychain, a suitcase, a backpack, a briefcase, a wallet, or even a smartphone, a laptop

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When you want to get your hands back on an object equipped with an AirTag, all you have to do is open an application, called Find My, which will geolocate the AirTag and direct the user to it.

How big is an AirTag?

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

Apple AirTag

Besides, if you are interested, iFixit has just published a detailed teardown of the AirTag. The latter allows you to appreciate how compact they are and how Apple has wasted no 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 lanyard, light and resistant, a leather lanyard or a leather key ring. The apple brand specifies that it is a “uniquely tanned” European leather. The 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, know 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 the colors Saddle Brown and RED: 45 euros.
  • Leather key ring in the colors Saddle Brown, RED and Baltic Blue: 39 euros.

For Hermès luxury accessories, the prices are as follows:

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

For users who don’t intend to spend that much money on the object tracker accessory – and understandably – there are alternatives from third-party manufacturers. At Belkin for example, it is possible to purchase AirTag protection with key ring or lanyard for 13.49 euros, or even cheaper at some resellers.

Apple AirTag

What is the autonomy of the AirTag?

Apple indicates that the AirTag has a CR2032 battery that should provide power for approximately a year. Once it has fallen flat, you just need to replace it. This type of battery is easily found in the store and the operation to change the battery of the AirTag is very simple.

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

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

The configuration of 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 AirTag

You receive a notification on your iPhone as soon as you move too far away from an object you’ve placed an AirTag on. This allows you to react quickly if you have forgotten, lost or been stolen any of your belongings. Via the app, you can set a distance around you, from which you will be notified if the beacon goes out of range.

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 spotted by one or more devices in the Find My network, which has nearly a billion devices. If someone finds a lost AirTag, they can bring their iPhone or NFC-compatible Android smartphone up to it. It will then be redirected to a website that will display the contact details of the owner of the beacon. So take care to fill in your contact details.

When you report a lost AirTag, the application therefore gives you its approximate real-time position, calculated based on the Apple devices of other users on the network. Once you are nearby you can sound 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 which takes over and can therefore locate the tracker very precisely thanks to the ultra-wideband frequencies.

Apple AirTag

The AirTag and the Tracker feature support some iOS accessibility options, including VoiceOver, to guide blind or visually impaired people in the direction of their AirTag. Voice instructions 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 allowing it to be detected.

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Can we follow 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. Even Apple cannot access the identity or location of a device used to perform the search.

The AirTag also stands out for the integration of features that discourage unwanted tracking. The Bluetooth credentials transmitted by the device are swapped regularly, which helps prevent third-party tracking of the location through traces left by Bluetooth connectivity.

Apple AirTag

Finally, the American giant has ensured that the AirTag cannot be used to track an individual, but remains confined to the role of an object tracker. To do this, iOS devices can detect an AirTag separate from its owner and which would have accidentally ended up on you. You are then informed after a certain time that an unknown AirTag will accompany you on your travels.

You can then get rid of it, or deactivate it: all you have to do is bring your iPhone to the AirTag, instructions will then appear on the screen to activate the deactivation. Android users are not left behind and will not be able to be spied on either, because an AirTag that has been separated for too long from its owner will make a sound to alert of its presence.

An NFC-enabled Android device will be able to deactivate the tag in the same way as an iPhone. This function can still be annoying in some cases since it can warn a thief that the object he has stolen is tracked by a tracker, and therefore give him the possibility of getting rid of it. We also note that a researcher has already managed to hack an AirTag.

Photo by airtag-apple

Apple AirTag

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

These prices were updated on 05/11/2021 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are valid.

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