Apple AirTag Info
Apple AirTag Info
What is an AirTag?
- An Apple AirTag is a small round water-resistant tracking device that allows you to locate lost items. The built-in FindMy app for iOS allows you to get updates on where the AirTag was last detected, and if nearby, where exactly it is (e.g. 15ft to your right).
- AirTag location is updated each time it is within Bluetooth range of any iPhone, whether it be yours or a neighbor’s; Bluetooth range is up to a few hundred feet. City or street density will determine how accurate/granular your pet’s current location is.
- When an AirTag is within range of your own iPhone, you can use the FindMy app to either get precise location guidance or to emit a sound.
- FindMy app can be set to notify you when your pet returns to your house.
- Measures 1.26in/32mm diameter, 0.31in/8mm depth. Weighs 0.39oz/11 grams.
- AirTag requirements:
- iPhone and iPod Touch models with iOS 14.5 or later
- iPad models with iPadOS 14.5 or later
- 2-Factor Authentication must be enabled on iOS device for activation
- iPad and iPod Touch devices running iOS 14.5 or later can register AirTags and use the FindMy app to get their location, but since these devices lack the U1 chip found in iPhones, precision finding will not be available. In other words, it may be more difficult to find your pet if it’s within close range. An iPhone, by contrast, will tell you exactly how far away (e.g. 10 feet) and in which direction your pet is when in close range.
- AirTags can only be paired with one Apple ID. If you have multiple supported Apple devices (e.g. an iPhone and iPad), you can use the FindMy app on each to locate your AirTag. However, you will not be able to tie it to different devices in your house that have different Apple ID accounts (e.g. both your phone and your spouse’s phone).
What is the tracking range / how far will it work?
AirTags can be used to track your pet in a couple of ways, with different range specs:
Generally-speaking, you will be able to get a reading on your pet's location (for example, is he at "Home" or he is at an unsanctioned midnight backyard party 4 blocks away in your neighborhood) using the Find My app (on your iPhone) as long as your pet is somewhere within 100 ft or so of *anyone* with an iPhone (including you or the other people living in your neighborhood, or block, or in your town, state, etc). That means you can get a reading on your pet's location wherever you are and wherever he is (as long as your pet is relatively near anyone with an iPhone, since Apple uses this device network to triangulate location). Note - This does mean AirTags are great if you live in the city or a populated suburb but are not so practical if you're out in the countryside where population density is low.
The other method is precision-tracking. AirTags can be used to give you the precise distance and direction of your pet's location if they're within about 100 ft from your iPhone (i.e. its Bluetooth range). It's super useful to use the precision "Find" feature to determine for example, that your cat is "23 ft to your left", when he's hiding somewhere inside your house, or when the app says he's already "Home" on your property, but you need to know *exactly* where he is and can't see him, (because he's hiding under your car and it's dark outside).
AirTag Pros & Cons
- Best small tracking device due to large network of Apple devices that passively triangulate location of nearby AirTags.
- 1-year battery life with user-replaceable battery; no need to charge regularly
- IP67 rated water and dust resistance. Risk of failure is very low in rainy/wet conditions.
- Compact design of AirTag makes it comfortable for 24/7 usage.
- Peace of mind for knowing your pet’s current location.
- Since location accuracy requires a network of phones, rural locations may have less frequent or less useful location updates (e.g. “Last seen at home 1 hour ago”). Works best in city/suburban neighborhoods.
- Only one Apple ID can be tied to an ID tag. Other family members wanting to know the location of a pet may not have easy or consistent access to the phone/device associated with the AirTag.
- AirTag does not always guarantee that you will be able to locate a roaming or lost pet. There may not be a device nearby the AirTag to accurately triangulate its location. Additionally, retrieving a lost collar from its current location may not be possible due to terrain, property lines, fencing, etc.
- Your pet may still be able to lose collar, and the AirTag will be lost with it. On the other hand, finding a lost collar in this scenario is much more likely with an AirTag installed on it.
- Although AirTags are very lightweight (39 ounce), the extra physical bulk on a very small kitten may be a factor when considering comfort.