Apple AirTags Review
Apple’s new AirTags are arriving in stores today. These little £ 30 puck gadgets promise to help you find your stuff when lost indoors or out. For anyone who spends countless hours looking for their keys, purse or jacket, this sounds like the ultimate solution, but are the AirTags really good and can they end the nightmare of losing your belongings?
Express.co.uk has attached an AirTag to our keys for the past week and so far, so good.
There is no doubt that this is a very capable device that impresses the moment you take it out of the box. Apple has made the setup so simple that even the most technophobic should have no trouble setting things up and keeping track of things in minutes.
You simply peel the plastic cellophane and pull it away, which then immediately breathes life into the label – a beep will let you know it has been activated. Hold it next to your iPhone and wait for the popup window to appear, which will then walk you through the setup process – from naming the tag to adding any contact information you want to appear if someone finds it.
And that’s it. You are all up and running. So what happens if you lose your keys or can’t find your bag?
The AirTags are attached to keys and bags using additional accessories
Apple has added a new menu in the Find My app, which now allows you to discover lost belongings. For those who don’t remember, Find My is an amalgamation of the Find My Friends and Find My iPhone apps that come pre-installed on every iPhone. Both of these features can now be found in the single Find My app, as well as any asset you track with AirTags.
Just like with a lost iPhone, you start the application when you cannot find something. Tap the Items menu at the bottom of the screen and you will find the last known location of your AirTags on an interactive map. As long as the AirTag is nearby, you can play a sound that thunders out through the built-in speaker.
If you’d rather not bother anyone with a loud noise, you can use the very smart search function that guides you to the exact location via interactive arrows on your iPhone. It’s all smart stuff and works really well with arrows pointing you in the right direction and even showing an exact measurement of how far away you are.
The AirTags can be easily connected to your iPhone
If you move the right way things will turn green, but you will start to walk away from the tag and you will get a warning where the iPhone screen will switch to black. Our only minor glitch with this feature is that it struggles with height and can get confused if there’s an AirTag on the floor above you. So if you have a four-story townhouse – or live in an apartment building and left your bag at the front desk, twelve flights below you – it may take a little longer to find out where you’ve hidden your keys.
That said, we’ve played hide and seek with our AirTag a lot and found it every time, so you really should never miss your train again because you couldn’t find your keys.
It’s also worth noting that you will need an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 to be able to use these on-screen guidance arrows to guide you to a misplaced AirTag. That’s because these newer devices have the Ultra-wide Band sensor tucked away. If you have an older iPhone, make do with the old-fashioned beeping sound to find that lost luggage!
Other nice features that come with the AirTag are the water resistant design that can withstand 30 minutes of submersion and a removable battery, which should mean the AirTag will last indefinitely.
This is an important addition from Apple, as some of its rivals, such as a few of Tile’s lineup, are a sealed unit, meaning you have to throw them out when the battery is dead – not great for the environment.
Directions will appear on your iPhone
Another thing Apple has thought about is what happens when you leave your keys or bag on a train or bus and they end up miles away from you. This is where the company’s massive popularity comes into its own.
Apple’s Find My network is approaching a billion Apple devices and can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag using all those iPhones in the pockets of people around the world to send the location back to the owner, all in the background , anonymous and private.
Users can also put AirTag in lost mode and be notified when it is in range or located by a passing iPhone or iPad. If a lost AirTag is spotted by someone, they can tap it with their iPhone or other NFC-compatible device and be taken to a website showing the contact’s phone number you added during the setup process.
We are still fully testing this feature and will be updating this review with our thoughts in the coming days.
One last thing to note is that Apple has made sure that the AirTag cannot be used to track someone without their permission. The thought that one of these tags can be put in a pocket and used to monitor a location is pretty scary, but there is a smart way to make sure it never happens.
If an AirTag is separated from its owner, but realizes that it is in the vicinity of another iPhone for an extended period of time, even if that iPhone moves, it will immediately send an alert that an AirTag is nearby. That said, it’s not immediately clear what will happen if that person owns an Android phone.
Apple AirTags Review
It feels like Apple has really thought of everything with the AirTag, and it’s very hard to make mistakes with these asset tracking drives.
If we had one major complaint, it would be that Apple doesn’t provide any way to attach them to your stuff in the box. There’s just the little silver and white disk and that’s, we’re afraid, all you get.
If you want to hang them on your key or attach one to your bag, you’ll have to pay for a pouch, with Apple charging at least £ 29 for the privilege.
We understand why Apple doesn’t ship a case with its iPhone or include a laptop bag with a MacBook, but the AirTag is really useless without a way to hook it to your keys. And while you can drop it in the bottom of a backpack, features like the contact information show that Apple believes the best way to use AirTags is to put them on display, like a luggage tag.
As such, it kind of hurts that you are expected to seek out more for something so vital.
Apple AirTag Review: Final Verdict
PROS • Neat design and waterproof • Good tracking capabilities • Removable battery • Easy installation
Cons • Has difficulty determining location on different floors. • No way to clip it to keys without paying extra
Apple’s AirTags are easy to set up and brilliantly easy to use. They are a great way to track your belongings and they will last for years thanks to the removable battery.
At just £ 29, they also seem good value for money, although the fact that you have to pay extra to hang them on your keys is very annoying.
That said, if you have an iPhone and are constantly losing things, you won’t find a much better way to track them down.
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