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
17 months ago
So an Apple Watch would be more suitable for my cat? Great!
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
infinitejest Avatar
17 months ago
brb...buying an Apple Watch for my 5 year old daughter.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Costino1 Avatar
17 months 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: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CalMin Avatar
17 months 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
17 months ago

Thief steals item. Thief turns off tracker. Great idea.
Not intended usage.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klunernet Avatar
17 months 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)

Related Stories

airtag hermes

AirTag Hermès Currently Unavailable From Apple

Monday May 24, 2021 6:26 am PDT by
As reported by 9to5Mac, AirTag Hermès is currently unavailable for purchase from Apple or directly from the Hermès website. The reasoning behind the unavailability remains unknown. Apple's AirTags Hermès line features three separate styles, an AirTag with a Hermès keyring, bag charm, and luggage tag. All styles feature the standard AirTag with a removable backplate but engraved with...
Apple airtag accessories bag 042021 big carousel

What to Know if You Plan to Travel Abroad With AirTags

Friday April 23, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
Apple's new AirTag item trackers are ideal for attaching to things like bags and luggage cases, which makes it likely they'll become popular with travelers and backpackers who want to keep tabs on their personal possessions abroad. For this reason, it's worth remembering which AirTag features work wherever you are, which ones depend on you being nearby the AirTag, and which functions aren't...
f1618938547

Police Find Unexpected Use for Apple AirTags

Monday July 19, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
The utility of Apple's AirTag item trackers have started to be seen in law enforcement when locating stolen property, according to recent reports. As reported by GadgetLite, an AirTag user in Boston was able to recover their stolen property with the help of the police and Apple's small tracking device. Earlier this month, the user discovered that his bike had been stolen. Thankfully, he...
AirTag is Linked to Apple ID Feature

Apple Announces AirTag Updates to Address Unwanted Tracking

Thursday February 10, 2022 9:58 am PST by
Apple today announced that it is making some updates to AirTags with the aim of cutting down on unwanted tracking. There are several changes that will be implemented in a multi-phase rollout. In an upcoming software update, Apple plans to implement new privacy warnings that will show up during AirTag setup to thwart malicious use. The warning will make it clear that the AirTag is linked to...
belkin airtag holder 2

Belkin, Moment, Nomad and More Debut AirTag Accessories

Tuesday April 20, 2021 3:39 pm PDT by
Now that Apple's AirTag item trackers have officially launched, third-party manufacturers are debuting holders, sticky pads, and other accessories designed to house an AirTag. Belkin Secure Holder Available as a Key Ring or a Strap, the $12.95 Belkin Secure Holder is designed to keep an AirTag in place and attached to an item of your choice. It features a twist-and-lock closure with raised...
maxresdefault

AirTag Tidbits: Maximum of 16 Per Apple ID, Low Battery Notifications on iPhone, and More

Thursday April 22, 2021 8:08 am PDT by
AirTag, announced this week and shipping on April 30, is Apple's long-rumored Tile-like tracker for locating and keeping a tab on items such as keys, wallets, and more. The iPhone accessory is a new product category for Apple, building on its Find My network. While AirTags won't be in the hands of customers until next week, we continue to learn more about Apple's latest gadget. YouTuber Rene ...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
airtag in hand

AirTags Arriving Early to Some Customers

Wednesday April 28, 2021 4:58 pm PDT by
AirTags aren't set to officially launch until Friday, April 30, but some customers have mistakenly received their AirTags shipments already, with many of the early AirTags coming from Best Buy. MacRumors reader Johnny sent us a series of photos of his AirTags that he already has in hand, giving us a look at the packaging and a real-life look at the AirTags themselves outside of reviews. ...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
top stories 13aug2022

Top Stories: New Battery Percentage Icon in iOS 16, USB-C AirPods Rumor, and More

Saturday August 13, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
This week brought some shocking news for iOS 16 beta testers, with Apple bringing back the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar after a number of years. Other news and rumors this week included word that Apple has started recording portions of its media event planned for next month to introduce the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8, claims about iPhone 14 Pro pricing and Apple's...
iCloud General Feature

Apple Remains Silent About Plans to Detect Known CSAM Stored in iCloud Photos

Saturday August 13, 2022 1:52 pm PDT by
It has now been over a year since Apple announced plans for three new child safety features, including a system to detect known Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) images stored in iCloud Photos, an option to blur sexually explicit photos in the Messages app, and child exploitation resources for Siri. The latter two features are now available, but Apple remains silent about its plans for the CSAM...
apple watch se

Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8: New Features to Expect If You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday August 15, 2022 2:44 am PDT by
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...