Apple Executive Says AirTags Designed to Track Items, Not Children or Pets

Following the announcement of AirTags this week, Apple's VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, Kaiann Drance, and Apple's senior director of sensing and connectivity, Ron Huang, spoke with Fast Company about the Tile-like tracker and its design and privacy.

f1618938547
Speaking about the design of AirTag, Drance says Apple wanted to create a simple yet unique design for the tracker, keeping in mind it wanted to create something that "no one else in the industry’s ever done before." One of the biggest selling points for AirTag is its user privacy. Apple is stressing that AirTag uses encrypted networks, and Apple or other third parties can't read their location.

Huang says that even if someone happens to find your lost AirTag, they will not be able to pair it with their ‌iPhone‌ and continue to use it. Both executives stressed during the interview that AirTag uses Apple's Find My network, which hosts almost a billion Apple devices, keeping the whole experience secure and private.

This entire process is end-to-end encrypted so that no one but the owner of the AirTag—not the owners of the crowdsourced devices picking up the AirTag’s location or even Apple itself—ever has access to the AirTag’s current or past location. And the Bluetooth identifiers that ‌AirTags‌ emit are not only randomized but “are rotated many times a day and never reused so that as you travel from place to place with the AirTag, you cannot be re-identified,” Huang says.

Drance and Huang are also keen to note that though almost a billion Apple devices act as a crowdsourced monitoring network that helps keep track of ‌AirTags‌, the AirTag owner can never see which devices its AirTag’s location is pinging off of or who owns those devices.

Earlier in March, Apple introduced a new safety feature in its Find My app within the iOS 14.5 beta that will notify users if the ‌iPhone‌ detects an unknown tracking device, such as AirTag, being used to track them. The purpose of the feature is to prevent incidents in which someone may slip an AirTag into a user's backpack and use it to stalk them.

In the case that it does happen, users will receive a notification stating "AirTag Found Moving With You," and will then have the ability to disable it physically. Speaking about the safety feature, Drance says that users should contact local law enforcement if they feel their safety is at risk.

“If you are concerned that there’s a risk of your being tracked you could contact law enforcement,” Drance notes. “What the [AirTag’s] serial number is used for is when you first set up your AirTag it is paired with an Apple ID along with some additional information such as your name, your email address, your date of birth, and things like that, which [Apple] could provide to law enforcement if asked for, with the proper warrants and process.”

Apple is marketing AirTag as a smart and capable way to track items. Questions have arisen, however, if AirTag can be used to track children and pets. When asked, Apple's VP of ‌iPhone‌ product marketing says the company designed AirTag to track items, not children. The executive suggests parents use an Apple Watch with Family Setup to locate their children. In the case of tracking pets, Drance says they need to be in range.

When I asked Drance about parents using ‌AirTags‌ to track their small children (such as during an outing at an amusement park) or pets (we know you’re up to something shady, Fluffy) she was quick to stress that the company designed the AirTag to track items, not people or pets. If parents would like to safely track their young children, she suggests an Apple Watch with ‌Family Setup‌ might be a better choice.

As for strapping an AirTag to a pet, Drance says, “If people do that, they just have to make sure that their moving pet gets into range of a device in the ‌Find My‌ network” so its location can be tracked.

Both executives also spoke about ‌AirTags‌ to YouTuber Rene Ritchie. AirTag will be available to pre-order on Friday, April 23 for $29, or in a pack of four for $99. They'll begin shipping on April 30. Check out some first impressions and hands-on reviews of ‌AirTags‌.

Related Forum: AirTags

Top Rated Comments

Eddy Munn Avatar
9 weeks ago
So an Apple Watch would be more suitable for my cat? Great!
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
infinitejest Avatar
9 weeks ago
brb...buying an Apple Watch for my 5 year old daughter.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Costino1 Avatar
9 weeks ago

Not the tag that matters. It is the stolen item.
I really think youre missing the point. This is mostly for lost items, not stolen ones. How much more often do we lose an item vs an item being stolen?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CalMin Avatar
9 weeks ago

Then not at all useful.
It’s to help you find something you lost. Not something that was stolen.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nholm Avatar
9 weeks ago

Thief steals item. Thief turns off tracker. Great idea.
Not intended usage.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klunernet Avatar
9 weeks ago
It raises a question about use in a plane. with KLM I could chug it in my carry-on camera bag. (Cargo hold not allowed, you’re not allowed to put anything with a battery in there). Will a quarter or half the 777 then get a “a tag is traveling with you” message? :) Bluetooth 5.0 does have a range to make that funny or annoying.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

macbook air orange

Apple Developing a Whole New Kind of MacBook Air

Monday June 21, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Apple is believed to be working on a completely new, high-end version of the MacBook Air, according to recent reports. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, has repeatedly discussed the company's work on a high-end MacBook Air. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and leaker Jon Prosser have also referred to a similar MacBook Air model. The high-end...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
purple iphone 12 and 12 mini

iPhone 12 Mini Production Reportedly Ended Earlier Than Expected Due to Relatively Low Sales

Monday June 21, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Following widespread reports that the iPhone 12 mini has experienced poor sales performance, at least relative to other iPhone 12 models, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce today claimed that production of the device has already ended. According to TrendForce, the iPhone 12 mini "reached End-of-Life ahead of time" during the second quarter of 2021, suggesting that Apple will focus on selling ...
iOS 15 Users Underwhelmed Feature

Users Underwhelmed by iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Survey Suggests

Monday June 21, 2021 7:17 am PDT by
Users appear to be underwhelmed by Apple's upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates, according to the findings of a new survey by SellCell. The survey asked 3,000 iPhone and iPad users, evenly split between men and women, aged 18 or over in the United States, what they thought of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and the naming of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup. Over 50 percent of all of the survey's...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
primeday2020 feature3

Amazon Prime Day: The Best Apple Deals

Monday June 21, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Amazon's annual Prime Day event has officially kicked off today, beginning 48 hours of discounts, offers, and tons of savings across Amazon's storefront. This includes everything from home electronics to clothing, jewelry, video games, movies, and much more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
iOS Spam Calendar Feature

iCloud Users Continue to Be Plagued by Calendar Spam

Monday June 21, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Despite previous attempts to put the situation at rest, some iCloud users continue to experience spam calendar invitations, causing their calendars to be filled with random events. The situation received widespread coverage in 2016, where Apple said that it was "actively working to address this issue" by "identifying and blocking suspicious senders." Victims are targeted in various ways. The ...
iphone 13 yellow

TrendForce: iPhone 13 Lineup Will Remain Limited to Maximum 512GB of Storage

Monday June 21, 2021 6:33 am PDT by
Apple will likely unveil its next-generation "iPhone 12s" or "iPhone 13" lineup in around two and a half months from now, and ahead of time, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce has outlined its expectations for the devices. A summary of TrendForce's expectations:Apple will unveil four new iPhones in September, including a mini model, a standard model, and two Pro models. September is the...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...