June 20, 2021 6 min read
Behind the stainless steel back is a replaceable CR2032 battery, which Apple claims will last a year. Each AirTag comes with one already installed. When it starts to get low, your iPhone gets a notification. And CR2032 batteries are common. I like that Apple decided to make the battery replaceable and easy to access.
Setting up your AirTag is easy. You just pull the battery tab, bring it close to your iPhone, and tap the Connect button. I had to update my iPhone to iOS 14.5, sign into my iCloud account and verify the lock code on my iPhone. But even with the extra steps it was a straightforward process.
Once the AirTag is tied to your Apple ID, you can use the Find My app and interact with it under the Items tab. To help you find your pet, you can ping the AirTag attached to it and play a sound. The AirTag uses its surface as a sound actuator to produce sound hence the absence of any tiny speaker grills.
Even if you don't have the Find My app open on your iPhone, you can say, for example, "Hey Siri, where is TrackFIDO?" The AirTag will chime in response.
But it gets better. If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 you can use Precision Finding to locate your AirTag. And that's because the AirTag, like the iPhone 11 and 12, has a U1 ultrawideband chip to determine the exact distance and directions to get you to it. A really cool interface pops up on your iPhone to guide you to the item and AirTag. It uses the iPhone's cameras, its ARKit software, its accelerometer and gyroscope, along with data from the AirTag to create a visual guide that, with haptics and sound, directs you to your lost item. Precision Finding works within Bluetooth range of the AirTag.
If your AirTag is far away, you can put it into Lost Mode, which allows you to enter a phone number. If someone comes across the AirTag, they can tap it with an NFC phone (iOS or Android). This will take them to a website with information on how to contact you.
You're the only one who can see where your AirTag is. Any location data or history isn't stored on the AirTag itself. When the AirTag comes in contact with another Find My device, like an iPhone, location info is transferred encrypted and anonymously.
No one, not even Apple, knows the location of your AirTag or the identity of the Find My device used to find it. Any Bluetooth signals rotate frequently, so other people can't use them to track you.
There are people who might want to take advantage of the anonymity and privacy the AirTag provides to track another person without them knowing. Apple created a number of features to discourage unwanted tracking.
Any AirTag separated from its owner for a period of time will play a sound to alert you when it is moved. You don't need an iPhone or an Android phone to be alerted of someone else's AirTag. Let's say I put my AirTag in your bag and I leave. As soon as that AirTag moves it plays a sound to alert you so you can find it. You can use any iOS or Android phone with NFC to interact with my AirTag and receive information about it (like if it was in lost mode) or view instructions for how to remove the battery and disable it.
AirTags come with a water resistance rating of IP67, which makes them dust and splash resistant. This means that AirTags can survive being submerged under 1 meter of water for up to 30 mins.
While great for everyday use, this however means that you can use your tracker under extreme diving conditions or on equipment that can be lost deep underwater. For all such scenarios, you will need a waterproof case for your AirTags that will help keep the water out while helping it survive deep water pressure changes with ease.