Apple is set to release a new device that will allow iPhone users to track and find everything from missing keys to a misplaced purse — whether that item is stuck under a couch cushion at home or left at a coffee shop across town.
The AirTag — a tiny, stainless steel device that will work with Apple’s “Find My” software — can be attached to key rings or stuffed in luggage and will allow the owner to ping the AirTag with their iPhone if the item is ever lost.
- “We’re excited to bring this incredible new capability to iPhone users with the introduction of AirTag, leveraging the vast Find My network, to help them keep track of and find the important items in their lives,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of iPhone product marketing, in statement.
- “With its design, unparalleled finding experience, and built-in privacy and security features, AirTag will provide customers with another way to leverage the power of the Apple ecosystem and enhance the versatility of iPhone,” Drance said.
AirTags are “water- and dust-resistant” and will be available to consumers on April 30, according to Apple. A single AirTag costs $29 and key ring or luggage-style holders will run from around $13 to several-hundred dollars.
Apple’s key ring hide-and-seek prevention device is made possible by the company’s U1 chip. The “U” stands for Ultra Wideband.
- Ultra Wideband “is a short-range radio technology that’s capable of accurately measuring the distance between two devices with the U1 chip in them. This means it could be used to find devices indoors and pinpoint locations more accurately than GPS,” Digitaltrends reported.
- “Much like Bluetooth Low Energy, Ultra Wideband also doesn’t require much power to work,” according to Digitaltrends.
- Apple says that AirTag battery life will last about a year and batteries are easily replaced.
How does the AirTag work?
- iPhone users will be able to use their phone like a compass to find a nearby AirTag, an arrow on the photo leading the way to the lost item.
- AirTag owners can also use the Find My app to see the AirTag’s location on a map.
“If AirTag is separated from its owner and out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help track it down. The Find My network is approaching a billion Apple devices and can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag and relay the location back to its owner, all in the background, anonymously and privately,” Apple said in the announcement of the AirTag.
AirTag owners can put a missing tag in “Lost Mode” and the owner will be notified if:
- The AirTag comes within range of the owner — like while searching for the AirTag.
- Or if the AirTag is located by the large “Find My” network of Bluetooth-equipped devices.
Can someone track me with an AirTag?
It doesn’t take much imagination to see how the technology used to find lost keys or gym bags could possibly be used by individuals with malicious intent. The technology giant said the AirTag was “designed to discourage unwanted tracking.”
- “If someone else’s AirTag finds its way into your stuff, your iPhone will notice it’s traveling with you and send you an alert. After a while, if you still haven’t found it, the AirTag will start playing a sound to let you know it’s there,” according to Apple.
- Those alerts are only triggered if an “AirTag is separated from its owner” — essentially preventing AirTag alert madness on public transportation or in other place dense with other AirTag owners.
“Only you can see where your AirTag is. Your location data and history are never stored on the AirTag itself. Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also stay anonymous, and that location data is encrypted every step of the way. So not even Apple knows the location of your AirTag or the identity of the device that helps find it,” Apple says on the AirTag website.