According to Apple, an AirTag battery should last approximately one year. The good news is that replacing an Apple AirTags battery is quick and easy. The bad news is that you won’t know you have a low battery in the AirTag until the battery is low.
Let’s look at the AirTag’s history, how they work, how to extend battery life, and common use scenarios.
What is an Apple AirTag?
In 2021, Apple introduced the AirTag. An AirTag is a small, half-dollar-sized disc that acts as a location tracker. The AirTag can be attached to a backpack, handbag, luggage, automobile — you name it.
The AirTag is connected to Apple’s Find My network through Bluetooth. Unlike other tracking devices that require cell service, an AirTag relays its location through other Apple devices.
If you misplace an item, like a backpack, with an AirTag attached, you can locate the lost pack through the Find My iPhone application.
The AirTag is designed for iPhones, so if you’re an Android user, you’re out of luck. Other tracking devices, such as a Tile or RSH, are compatible with an Android.
How Does an Apple AirTag Work?
The AirTag periodically transmits a low-energy Bluetooth ping. Other iPhones from anywhere in the vicinity collect the pings. The ping passes onto Apple’s Find My Network. The AirTag can only ping and update its location when an iPhone is within about 30 feet. If no iPhone comes within 30 feet, the area won’t update.
The owner of the AirTag can see its last known location but can only see a history of previous sites if an unknown AirTag is tracking them.
AirTag Battery Lifetime
Apple estimates the battery life at approximately one year. Previous iOS versions displayed a battery level indicator for the AirTags, but the current iOS does not. The AirTag will send a low battery signal to your iPhone when the battery requires replacement.
We’d recommend setting a reminder on your calendar to replace the batteries every eleven months. Replacing the CR2032 battery is a breeze and shouldn’t take more than a moment or two. The Apple discussion thread recommends not using Duracell batteries because their bitter coating blocks electrical contact.
Extending an AirTag’s Battery Lifetime
If you want to extend the battery life, you could remove the battery until you’re ready to use the device. Battery removal may be reasonable if you only use the AirTag once every few months but impractical if you use it regularly. CR2032 batteries are dirt cheap if you purchase them from an e-commerce site. It might just be easier to replace the batteries every eleven months.
To maximize the lifetime of the AirTag battery, you can use it until the battery is completely dead. You get to determine where you fall in the risk versus reward scenario.
AirTag Privacy Concerns: Unwanted Tracking Alert
The use of the AirTag to locate lost items hasn’t been seamless. Shortly after the product release, news stories of stalkers hiding AirTags in purses, backpacks, coats, handbags, and automobiles came to light. Stalkers place the AirTag into an unsuspecting person’s belongings or car. The Stalker can track where the unsuspecting person travels from a remote location.
If an AirTag isn’t registered to you and is “traveling with you,” your iPhone generates an “AirTag Found Moving With You” alert and notifies you. The alert will begin approximately 15 minutes after the tracking starts.
If you have an Android cell phone, Google released anti-stalking software earlier this year. The software will notify users concerning unknown Bluetooth tracking devices.
I’ve Lost My AirTag, What Do I Do?
If you’ve lost your AirTag in the middle of nowhere, say on the side of a mountain, and the battery is dead (or soon to be), all is not lost.
You can activate the Lost Mode for the AirTag in the Find My application on your iPhone. Select Items and then choose the lost AirTag. Scroll down and enable Lost Mode.
You’ll leave a message containing your email or phone number for whoever finds the AirTag. If the “finder” has an Apple device, they are automatically directed on their cell phone to a website that will show them your Lost Mode Message.
AirTags in Everyday Life
Many people report using their AirTags for a year and the battery is still going strong. Let’s talk about four ways to use an AirTag in your daily life.
- During an extended time away from your car, you can monitor its location in a storage facility to ensure it stays the same. Weeks may pass without a location update, and then you might have several updates quickly as iPhone users walk by your vehicle.
- You can place separate AirTags in your luggage during travel. There’s peace of mind in knowing you can track lost luggage, even if the airlines cannot.
- Place separate AirTags into daily travel bags, like small backpacks or purses. If you lose your everyday travel bags or they’re stolen, you can quickly track them down.
- If you have a loved one with dementia or another illness, you can equip them with an AirTag to track their whereabouts if they become lost.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ugis Riba/Shutterstock.com.