Apple is working on 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
Based on assets found in iOS 13.2 and trademarking details dug up by MacRumors
, Apple seems to be planning to call its tracking accessory the "AirTag."
A mockup of what AirTags could look like
AirTags are still in the works and there's no prospective release date yet, but signs of them have been found in iOS 13
betas so we do know a bit about what we can expect when they're available. This guide goes over everything that we know about AirTags at the current time.
What are AirTags?
AirTags are small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items. There are several similar products on the market, such as Tile and Adero, but Apple's version will be more deeply integrated with Apple devices.
How will AirTags work?
AirTags will have built-in chips that will allow them to connect to an iPhone
, relaying the position of devices that they're attached to. You will be able to use your iPhone, iPad
, and Mac to track the location of AirTags much like you do to find missing Apple devices.
What will AirTags look like?
Based on images found within an internal build of iOS 13, AirTags are small, circular white tags with an Apple logo on the front. Presumably, these will attach to items via adhesive or an attachment point like a ring, and there may be multiple ways to use them with different items.
AirTags might not look quite like this because it could be a placeholder image, but this is the only information that we have at this time.
How will tracking items with AirTags work?
AirTags will show up in a new "Items" tab that will be available in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices and your friends and family. With AirTags, the Find My app will be a one stop shop for anything that you want to find.
AirTags, like a lost iPhone or iPad, will show up on a map and will have an address listed where they can be tracked to.
What will happen if I lose an item that has an AirTag?
Based on code found in iOS 13, if you lose an item that has an AirTag on it, you'll get a notification on your iPhone. You'll then be able to tap a button in the Find My app that will cause the AirTag to chime loudly so you can locate something that's lost nearby.
It also appears that augmented reality will play a role in tracking down lost items. The Find My app may include an ARKit feature that lets you use augmented reality to track down an item that's nearby, with Apple using balloon assets to let you know visually where an item might be.
There's a string of code in iOS 13 that reads "Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view."
Will AirTags still work if my item is far away?
Yes. If an item is not nearby and can't be located, you can put it into Lost Mode. In this mode, if another iPhone user comes across the list item, they'll be able to see your contact information so they can send you a text or give you a phone call to let you know the item has been found.
You'll also receive a notification as soon as an iPhone comes across your lost item. This feature that lets any iPhone detect a lost item is part of iOS 13, and it leverages Bluetooth to locate lost Apple devices and when released, AirTags.
Will I be able to set boundaries for AirTags?
Yes. In the Find My app, you can create Safe Locations. If an item with an Apple Tag is in a safe location (such as your home), you're not going to receive a notification when it's left behind.
If it leaves the safe location, you'll get a notification. You can also share the location of items with friends and family.
How accurate are AirTags?
AirTags are rumored to be more accurate than your average Bluetooth item tracker like Tile because they're said to take advantage of ultra-wideband technology, which basically offers more accurate indoor positioning.
Apple's newest iPhones have a U1 ultra-wideband chip so they're going to be able to track ultra-wideband equipped AirTags more precisely than is possible with Bluetooth alone.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
believes that the use of an ultra-wideband chip in AirTags will "enhance the user experience of iOS's 'find' and augment reality (AR) applications by offering measurement functions in the short distance."
How will AirTags charge?
AirTags may be powered via rechargeable batteries. Japanese site Mac Otakara believes Apple's AirTags will feature magnetic wireless charging capabilities similar to the magnetic charger used for Apple Watch.
What other features can we expect from AirTags?
There are still a lot of details that aren't known about the AirTags, so we may need to wait for launch to learn more about them.
Japanese site Mac Otakara says, though, that Apple's AirTags will be "completely waterproof."
What will AirTags cost?
There's no word on what Apple's AirTags will cost at this point in time, but similar products from companies like Tile are priced in the range of $25 to $35 for a single Bluetooth tracker. Tile Bluetooth tracking tags
Apple's AirTags could be priced similarly.
When will AirTags be released?
There were signs of AirTags in an Apple internal build of iOS 13 and later versions of iOS 13, but AirTags aren't expected until later in 2020.
Ming-Chi Kuo, who often has accurate insight into Apple's plans, believes Universal Scientific Industrial will begin supplying
the system-in-package for the Air Tags in the second to third quarter of 2020. Kuo previously said the AirTags will launch in the first half of 2020, so there's a chance Apple will unveil the AirTags early in 2020 and then provide them for salewi later in the year.
AirTags Rumor List
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