AirTag Precision Finding Interface Includes Hidden 'Developer Mode'

A frustrated AirTag owner has inadvertently discovered the existence of a hidden "developer mode" in the on-screen interface that Find My displays when the Precision Finding feature is activated to help locate one of Apple's item trackers.

precision finding developer mode
Precision Finding is a feature that provides users with specific on-screen directions for finding a nearby AirTag. iPhones with a U1 chip, which includes the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12 models, can take advantage of the feature, which combines camera input, AR, sound, Ultra Wideband radio technology, and haptic feedback to help locate the item tracker.

The hidden mode's overlay, which appears after tapping the item's name four times in the Precision Finding interface, displays real-time diagnostic and technical information about the feature's operation, including accelerometer and gyroscope coordinates, haptic feedback, screen resolution, tracking animations, and more.

Reddit user "cyem" stumbled upon the hidden mode after becoming frustrated with the performance of their AirTag, particularly when Precision Finding is activated. The user has also posted a video showing it in action.

My experience of AirTags thus far has been underwhelming - the first one out of the box failed to pair four times in a row when it was sitting on top of the phone. Now that it is finally connected, anything outside of 0.8m/2.6ft away shows as a weak signal and when I can get a signal, there is never an arrow. Funnily enough, I tapped on my name about five times in frustration, and found what appears to be a hidden developer mode. Even more interesting, the arrow appears to actually be working underneath - just not in the normal mode.

The hidden mode in iOS 14.5 is unlikely to be particularly useful to the average user, and the sliders and buttons that it throws up probably shouldn't be manipulated unless you know what you're doing. Still, the discovery provides an intriguing peek under the hood at the hardware and calibration involved every time an AirTag's Precision Finding is enabled.

Apple sells individual AirTags for $29, while a pack of four ‌AirTags‌ can be purchased for $99. Single ‌AirTags‌ ordered directly from Apple currently ship in five to seven days, while engraved ‌AirTags‌ and multipacks are currently on a five- to six-week lead time.

Related Forum: AirTags

Top Rated Comments

OS X Dude Avatar
10 months ago
iOS 14.5.2 coming in 3, 2, 1...
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cosmichobo Avatar
10 months ago

Did it ever cross the frustrated user's mind that the battery might be low?
Wouldn't have occurred to me in a product new out of the box.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bttrdg Avatar
10 months ago
And now I've messed with the sliders, I can't reset it. At least I get a nice purple instead of green.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
carrrrrlos Avatar
10 months ago
Your tapping it wrong.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipearx Avatar
10 months ago
Please please apple leave it in. Let us have a little behind the scenes 'whimsy' just once. Bet they won't...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
10 months ago
What are the odds of finding that? It’s a pretty cool find though. I wonder how long before Apple removes it?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
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. ...
AirTag and Lavender iPhone

AirTags and Purple iPhone 12 Models Start Arriving to Customers in New Zealand and Australia

Thursday April 29, 2021 2:05 pm PDT by
It's April 30, aka AirTags launch day, and customers who purchased AirTags or a purple iPhone 12 from Apple when orders went live last week are now beginning to receive their new devices. Apple fans in Australia and New Zealand are always the first to get their hands on new devices due to time zone differences, and are now sharing photos and first impressions on social media networks. @Mac ...
chipolo one spot iphone

Chipolo ONE Spot Now Available to Pre-Order as Cheaper AirTag Alternative With Find My Integration

Wednesday May 12, 2021 7:32 am PDT by
Last month, Apple opened up its Find My app to third-party device manufacturers, allowing for third-party products to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside Apple devices. Chipolo is one of the first brands to offer this functionality with its new ONE Spot item tracker, which is now available to pre-order in the United States and many other countries, with pricing set at $28...
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

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's New AirTags

Friday April 30, 2021 2:41 pm PDT by
After years of waiting for the AirTags to debut, launch day is finally upon us and AirTags are now in the hands of customers. We got our AirTags in the mail today and thought we'd share a hands-on look for those who are still waiting for their orders or debating whether AirTags might be useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As you probably know by now, AirTags...
airtag shipped order

AirTag Orders Moving to 'Shipped' Status for More Customers

Thursday April 29, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
AirTag orders are beginning to be marked as "shipped" for more customers on Apple's online store around the world, with most deliveries set to begin arriving to customers on Friday, April 30 launch day. A few lucky customers already received their AirTag orders earlier this week, providing us with a closer look at the unboxing experience. Priced at $29 each or $99 for a four pack, users can ...

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...