Arms-on Apple AirTags: These $ 29 Trackers Are Small and Spectacular – CNET

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Despite its small size, the Apple AirTag has Bluetooth, Ultrawideband and NFC so you can keep an eye on your items.

Apple / Screenshot by Patrick Holland / CNET
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Apple is known for its iPhones, Macs and of course, Ted Lasso. But now it also makes a tiny tracker called AirTag. ((Find out how and when to pre-order AirTags here.) You attach it to an object like your keys and can keep track of where it is being used Apple’s Find My network.

This type of tracker isn’t new. However, the biggest selling point for the AirTag is Apple’s Find My network, which is made up of hundreds of millions of Apple devices. Last week the Find My Network has been opened to third parties this can be used by the network for items such as bicycles and headphones. This only increases the number of devices in Find My and makes it even more robust. And that’s important because let’s say you lost your keys and had an AirTag attached to them. As soon as someone is using another device on the Find My network, such as a If, for example, an iPhone crosses its path, the AirTag communicates securely with the iPhone in the background to update the location of your lost keys. AirTags is basically a framework that shows the strength and reach of Apple’s Find My network.


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AirTags work with any iPhone or iPodTouch running iOS 14.5 or any other iPad on iPadOS 14.5. A single AirTag is $ 29 (£ 29, AU $ 45) and a four-pack is $ 99 (£ 99, AU $ 149). You can order an AirTag from Friday April 23rd. AirTags will be available from April 30th.

Continue reading: Apple AirTag is a tile rival: price, free engraving, Hermès accessories, privacy, and more

An AirTag is slightly larger than a Junior Mint

I can’t stress how small an AirTag is. It weighs about two quarters. It’s larger in diameter than a Junior Mint, Milk Dud, or Mento, but not by much. One side is white, the other is made of stainless steel. And it feels good. In fact, it’s valued IP67 for dust and water resistance and can be immersed underwater for 30 minutes.

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The Apple AirTag is just a bit bigger than some popular candy.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Behind the stainless steel back is a replaceable CR2032 battery that Apple says will last a year. Each AirTag comes with one already installed. When it starts to get low, your iPhone will receive a notification. And CR2032 batteries are common. I think it’s good that Apple decided to make the battery replaceable and easily accessible.

The Apple logo on the stainless steel side noticed some scratches after just a few days. I have the AirTag in Apple’s leather key ring holder on my key ring. The scratch marks are not deep. In fact, the metal itself doesn’t appear to be scratched at all. I’m not sure how the logo is put on the stainless steel but I can only describe what happened to make it look like a scratch off lottery ticket.

Apple AirTag

After a day, the Apple logo will show some scratches.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Get an AirTag setup with your iPhone

Setting up your AirTag is easy. Just pull the battery tab, bring it near your iPhone, and tap the Connect button. It’s similar to setting up a pair of AirPods. I had to update my iPhone to iOS 14.5, sign into my iCloud account, and check the lock code on my iPhone. But even with the extra steps, it was a straightforward process.

From there you will be asked to name it. For example, I named my AirTag “Key” because I attached it to my keys. I know original. (We have You can find step-by-step instructions on how to set up and use your AirTags here.)

Apple AirTags: See one of the smallest Apple products ever

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Find an AirTag by playing a carillon

Once the AirTag is tied to your Apple ID, you can use the My Search app and interact with it on the Items tab. To help you find your item, you can ping the attached AirTag and play a sound. The AirTag uses its surface as a sound actuator to generate sound, so there are no tiny speaker grilles.

For example, even if you haven’t opened the Find My app on your iPhone, you can say, “Hey Siri, where are my keys?” The AirTag sounds in response.

The AirTag uses Precision Finding to guide you there

But it’s getting better. If you have an iPhone 11 or 12, you can use Precision Finding to find your AirTag. And that’s because, like the iPhone 11 and 12, the AirTag has a U1 ultra-wideband chip that allows you to determine the exact distance and direction to get there. A really cool interface will appear on your iPhone that will take you to the article and the AirTag. It uses the iPhone’s cameras, its ARKit software, its accelerometer and gyroscope, and data from the AirTag to create a visual guide that uses haptics and sound to guide you to your lost item. The precision search works within the Bluetooth range of the AirTag.

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Precision searching can take you turn-by-turn until you land on your article and AirTag.

Apple / Screenshot by Patrick Holland / CNET

If someone finds a lost AirTag, they can interact with it using NFC

When 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 you to a website with contact information.

AirTags do not save your location data

You are the only one who can see where your AirTag is. Location data or histories are not stored on the AirTag itself. When the AirTag comes into contact with another Find My device such as an iPhone, location information is encrypted and transmitted anonymously.

Nobody, not even Apple, knows the location of your AirTag or the identity of the Find My device that was used to find it. All bluetooth signals rotate frequently so that other people cannot use them to track you.

AirTags cannot involuntarily track another person

There are people who want to use the anonymity and privacy of the AirTag to track another person without their knowing. Apple has developed a number of features to help prevent unwanted tracking.

Any AirTag that is separated from its owner for a period of time will emit a tone to notify you when it is moved. You don’t need an iPhone or Android phone to be notified of someone else’s AirTag. Let’s say I put my AirTag in your pocket and leave. As soon as that AirTag moves, a sound will play notifying you so you can find it. You can use any iOS or Android phone with NFC to interact with and get information about my AirTag (such as when it’s in lost mode) or see instructions on how to remove and disable the battery.

In addition, your iPhone or iOS device can warn you of the presence of an AirTag that has been disconnected from its owner. You can then play a sound on the unknown AirTag to help locate it. There’s a little bit of a “The green bubble does not have the same properties as a blue bubble“What is going on here with the AirTag, but on the simplest level, even without a telephone, unwanted AirTags should be found.

Apple AirTag

The AirTag can be deactivated by removing the CR2032 battery.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Using AirTags on Pets or Children

As soon as AirTags were announced, I saw friends online joking about how to dress their child or dog or whatever. When you attach this to a pet, they must be within Bluetooth range of a device on the Find My network for their location to be updated. This is not very useful if your dog ran into the woods.

For children, the AirTag is intended for objects, for example your child’s rucksack. The built-in tracking prevention features mentioned above mean that an AirTag is not the best option for keeping Dibs at your child’s location. Better to use an Apple Watch with Family Setup.

AirTag accessories

AirTags are small and can be put in a pocket for example, but there is no key ring hole. The only way to attach it to something else is to buy a suitcase and use it. Apple sells AirTag holders and Third-party cases are already being released::

I have to use an AirTag for about eight hours, which is not a lot. I look forward to trying it out longer and will be back with an in-depth review when I’ve had more time with the AirTag.

Continue reading:: The first Apple AirTag accessory has arrived, and prices range from $ 13 to $ 449 (really)

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Update, April 23rd: It has been added that the Apple logo already has scratch marks on it.

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