AirTags Work as an NFC Trigger for Apple Shortcuts

The AirTag's built-in NFC coil can be used by the Apple Shortcuts app to trigger automations, it has been found.

airtag in hand
The functionality, noticed by iCulture, allows users to trigger Shortcuts by simply tapping the top of their iPhone on the white plastic side of the ‌AirTag‌. As Shortcuts are completely user-configurable, and can be used to initiate an almost infinite number of actions, the fact that the ‌AirTag‌ can be used to trigger automations opens up new possibilities for automating HomeKit scenes, app behavior, and more.

The ‌AirTag‌'s NFC coil is intended to be used by people who may find a lost ‌AirTag‌. When the ‌AirTag‌ has been put into Lost Mode by its owner, someone who finds the lost ‌AirTag‌ can scan it with an iPhone or Android device using NFC to get a link to the owner's contact details so that it can be returned. Functionality as a Shortcuts automation trigger appears to simply be a bonus use for the NFC coil.

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Top Rated Comments

seinman Avatar
40 months ago

cool, now you can play a sad song for those who find your airtag. 'i once was lost but now i'm found'.
No you can't. The user who finds the tag would have to have the automation already set up in their shortcuts app for that to work.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
40 months ago
cool, now you can play a sad song for those who find your airtag. 'i once was lost but now i'm found'.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MvdM Avatar
40 months ago

No you can't. The user who finds the tag would have to have the automation already set up in their shortcuts app for that to work.
You can share the shortcut to your own url, put the url in the AirTag (hardware hack needed) hope the user who finds the url has the option to run downloaded shortcuts. Include the download action of the sound in the shortcut.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
40 months ago
Solid find! Very useful feature.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DG808 Avatar
40 months ago

I’m trying to convince myself to get an AirTag to try out. I’m familiar with NFC triggers using far cheaper NFC tags. What’s an example of using an AirTag for this scenario?
The scenario that I'm now considering is placing it on a backpack and having a shortcut to trigger that turns off my lights / HomeKit stuff, switches off the WiFi on my phone, and enables Noise Cancelling on my AirPods.

I know that all of that can be done with a cheaper NFC tag, but adding the ability to locate my backpack is ideal.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
name99 Avatar
40 months ago
"As Shortcuts are completely user-configurable, and can be used to initiate an almost infinite number of actions,"

Clearly written by someone who's never actually tried to do anything serious with Shortcuts.

A more accurate version might be:
"As Shortcuts tend to fail to launch about half the time, and there's not much you can do with them even when they do work, this is not an especially useful new feature".
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)