AirTags Separated From Owners for Three Days or More Play Audible Sound When Moved

Apple's AirTag item trackers let you track things like your keys, wallet, purse, backpack, or luggage, and if an AirTag is separated from its owner and out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help track it down, thanks to its U1 Wideband chip.

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According to Apple, an ‌AirTag‌ that isn't with the person who registered it for an extended period of time will also play a sound when moved, to alert anyone nearby so that it can be found, even without an iOS device.

Apple's documentation doesn't elaborate on what constitutes "an extended period of time," so Daring Fireball's John Gruber asked his sources at Apple for a more exact definition. They informed him that the timeout period is currently three days, but hinted that this could change in future:

I talked to folks from Apple today about some of this. The timeout period for when an AirTag will play a sound if separated from its owner is currently three days — but that's not baked into the AirTags themselves. It's a server-side setting in the Find My network, so Apple can adjust it if real-world use suggests that three days is too long or too short.

If someone finds an ‌AirTag‌ after hearing it make a sound, they can use any device that has NFC, such as an iPhone or Android phone, to see if its owner marked it as lost and help return it.

AirTags‌‌ start at $29 each or $99 for a four-pack. Online orders open this Friday, April 23, with ‌‌AirTags‌‌ shipping April 30.

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Top Rated Comments

Smartwatchlover Avatar
43 months ago
We definitely need to better understand this feature: if I hide an AirTag inside my car and then I'm flying somewhere for a week, I don't want it to play any sound
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
43 months ago
Three days seems reasonable to start with. Probably a good thing that it is configurable server-side.

So if I’m understanding this correctly, this means that if I go on vacation for a week and leave my work bag at home with an AirTag it won’t start making noise unless it is moved?

Also what does moved mean? Does it have a motion sensor so it can tell if it has been picked up (probably not) or does moves mean taken to a different location?

Edit: The three day timeout is probably good for people that want to tag their luggage. It wouldn’t be good to have bags beeping in the plane’s cargo hold after only a few hours ?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wanha Avatar
43 months ago
They should call this feature "iSeparation Anxiety"
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NotTooLate Avatar
43 months ago

I have a feeling "privacy" of thieves is a more important "human right" to Apple than your property rights. :/
Its a fine line , what if I put an airTag in YOUR bag ? wouldn't you want to know that I am tracking you ? In the extreme cases of theft and privacy , there will always be 2 sides for such trackers , the one in which you just want to track your dog or kid or your luggage , vs some 29$ mega anti theft device use case.
I will also say the following , in my country at least , you cannot just say to a police officer "my stuff were stolen , lets go and track it via GPS" , its just not how things go , you need to file a complaint in the police with whatever details you can and they go from there , usually doing nothing.
If , however , you (or anyone else) think you are going to track your car to a chopshop full of criminals and get your car out somehow , then , best of luck , but it seems ill advised to me.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Serban55 Avatar
43 months ago
Thats nice, some of Apples magic
No wonder Tile is angry
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EmotionalSnow Avatar
43 months ago

We definitely need to better understand this feature: if I hide an AirTag inside my car and then I'm flying somewhere for a week, I don't want it to play any sound
If it doesn't move it doesn't make a sound. That's what the article says.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)