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
7 weeks ago
iOS 14.5.2 coming in 3, 2, 1...
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cosmichobo Avatar
7 weeks 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
7 weeks 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
7 weeks ago
Your tapping it wrong.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipearx Avatar
7 weeks 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
7 weeks 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)

Top Stories

YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
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...
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...
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...
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...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...