Apple unveiled AirTags at its Spring Full Bloom event this spring. Rumors about this device have been circulating for a long time, but in 2021 the gadget was officially released and has already reached Russia. Today it is the smallest device that integrates into the Apple ecosystem. AirTag makes it easy to find things if you’ve lost them on the street or forgotten somewhere. I tested the Apple AirTag, tried to forget the keys with the tag, and even toss it into my wife’s backpack to track her movements around the city, and now I’ll tell you what came of it.
When you purchase AirTag on apple.com or the Apple Store app, you can order initials and/or emoji engravings. If there are several AirTags in the family, this will help to distinguish them.
Apple AirTag appearance
I came across one AirTag for review, which comes in a small square box. Inside there is a cardboard sleeve with the label itself and a couple of leaflets with instructions and warranty information. In general, everything is in the best traditions of Apple: beautiful and minimalistic. The company has abandoned plastic in its packaging, so all materials are environmentally friendly. The packaging of the accessories is designed in the same style.
The Apple AirTag is a miniature circular sensor with no buttons or protrusions. It is as organic as possible and looks cool. On the one hand, it’s a plastic case. On the other, shiny metal. Alas, both materials are scratched, and within a month, the pocket of the AirTag was covered with a small cobweb of scratches. However, this is not as important for a sensor as for a phone, for example.
To attach the AirTag to anything, you need one of the branded covers. Without them, you can only put the AirTag in your backpack pocket or throw it into your purse. Fortunately, there are already many accessories for this label, and you can buy them for every taste and color. I had a leather case with a key holder (in fact, it is on the keys that I wear the tag now), as well as a blue polyurethane case for attaching to a suitcase or somewhere else.
In general, perhaps, about Apple accessories for AirTag, you can make a separate article about cases for iPhone 12 or Apple Watch straps. But I fell in love with the leather key case. Maybe because I hold it in my hands every day, or maybe because of the magic of Apple. A loop cover for attaching to a bag or suitcase, of course, is more versatile, but due to restrictions on flights, alas, I have not even had time to test it in practice. And I’m afraid that the AirTag, which will hang on the suitcase handle, will be stolen very quickly. It doesn’t make sense, though. It will not be tied to another iPhone, but nothing will prevent it from being stolen, and I will be offended.
In general, it is quite easy to disable AirTag so that it disappears from the radar. You need to turn the metal part counterclockwise. To do this, you must have perfectly dry hands, and you may still have to practice. But as soon as the metal part snaps off, Apple AirTag falls into three parts: a plastic case, a metal cover, and a CR2032 battery.
The battery should be changed about once a year. In the Locator application, you can see the charge status, and during the month of active testing, my battery was almost empty.
How to set up Apple AirTag
One has only to get the AirTag out of the box, pull out the film that separates the battery and contacts, and immediately on the nearest Apple device, be it an iPhone or iPad. The offer will appear to connect the device. The same screen appears when you open AirPods Pro for the first time, which is very convenient.
You can immediately designate the label and choose where it will be located. I have these keys. Even though I never lose a thing, it seems that keys are the most suitable and important thing that I would like to find when I lose them.
And that’s it. From now on, your AirTag will be tied to the account, and no one will be able to reconnect it if you do not allow it. AirTag will appear in the Locator app under Things. Here you can perform several actions with AirTag. First, turn on Lost Mode. Second, you can turn on the sound on the label. Yes, even though there are no visible speakers in the gadget, it reproduces the sound and loudly. Here the speaker is the entire plastic part. This feature is useful if you have lost a thing with a tag at home, on the street still external noise interferes.
How Apple AirTag works
Despite its compact size, the AirTag is quite smart. However, it does not have its own cellular module or GPS. But then, how does it work? It’s relatively simple. Any iPhone or iPad that is near the label (in Bluetooth range) gives it the coordinates. Or, more precisely, not a label, but sends to Apple servers data about the coordinates, where he stuck your label. Of course, for the owner of the device, this is not noticeable at all. Only if you turn on The Lost Mode will it be able to see that a tag has been found nearby, and it can help you get it back. Of course, the entire data chain is protected, the MAC address of the label changes regularly, even Apple can not calculate who owns which label or which iPhone found the lost AirTag.
Since I don’t usually lose things, I didn’t get to test AirTag in real-world conditions. But I recreated conditions close to real. I left the keys with AirTag in the bar where my wife was sitting, having previously turned off his iPhone 12 Pro. Then he moved a considerable distance. After that, I was able to turn on the lost mode, set up notifications. However, the wife for 10 minutes, no notifications appeared that there is a lost mark nearby. But I think it’s only because it was too close to our house, and Apple’s smart systems thought I had lost the keys somewhere at home and shouldn’t have to alert the entire porch about the find.
But the NFC detection function works perfectly. It would be best if you leaned AirTag to the top of the screen (where the FaceID block is), and the iPhone will offer to open the link in Safari. There will be an AirTag number and the contact details of the owner, which we knowingly entered into the Locator application so that the finder could contact and return the find.
The AirTag tag is only needed to keep track of your belongings. Do not try to use it to spy on a person or even a car. Even if you don’t turn on Lost Mode, AirTag will tell the nearest iPhone that a tag has been detected after a while. This will happen if the phone and the tag were nearby and moving. So, of course, if you go to the subway with AirTag, then no one in the car will receive a notification. But if you throw AirTag to someone, sooner or later, a person will receive a message.
I tested this feature by putting my wife (with her consent, of course) the keys in the bag. Within an hour, the iPhone vibrated and reported that an AirTag had recently been detected nearby and even showed the route the tag followed. If you find a tag with which they tried to monitor you, Apple recommends that you remove the battery from it. In general, this is the only but 100% way to deactivate it.
Conclusions about Apple AirTag
The AirTag search label is the perfect device for Apple’s ecosystem. With it, any item can be found, even if you have lost it at home.
Apple AirTag is one of those devices that need to be at home. It’s like an Apple TV or AirPods Pro. If you can still think about other gadgets, whether they are needed or not, AirTag is definitely needed. Just imagine that for a small amount, you can now find lost keys, a backpack, even a smartphone if it’s not Apple. That is, absolutely anything that used to risk becoming irretrievably lost now will be found with the help of AirTag. But even with Bluetooth, the tag works perfectly and leaves only pleasant impressions. I put it on the keys and forgot, and when necessary – I pressed a couple of buttons and quickly found it. Magic!
- Many accessories
- Long battery life
- No UWB support yet