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Apple AirTags: Is The Hype Worth it?

Never lose your keys with Apple AirTags

The Apple AirTags have been a long time coming, and they haven’t let us down so far. They’re easy to set up and use, and the Precision Finding feature appears to be capable of easily locating missing objects. Apple has also paid close attention to privacy to ensure that the location trackers can’t be abused. However, there’s no denying that they’re an expensive addition, especially if you want to instal one to your keys.

The AirTag, Apple’s long-awaited location-tracking gadget, has finally been released, and although it’s tiny, it’s set to be a huge aid in locating lost things like keys, wallets, and bags.

If you have an AirTag and an iPhone 11 or higher, you can use the Find My app to get precise directions to the object in addition to emitting an electronic beep when you can’t find it. Precision Finding is a feature that uses the accelerometer, microphone, and gyroscope of the iPhone to include on-screen and haptic guidance.

Apple’s Find My Gadget network can also be used to help you locate an AirTag that has been misplaced rather than lost. You’ll get an anonymous location update anytime another gadget in the network goes by an AirTag that’s been set to Missing Mode, and you can even add a phone number to a lost AirTag so that if it’s found, someone can contact you.

The disc-shaped tracker can be tucked into a pocket or purse, however if you want to connect it to keys or other objects, you’ll need to buy an extra key fob or loop; however, this will cost the same as, if not more than, the AirTag itself.

Pricing

An individual Apple AirTag costs $29 / £29 / AU$45, or $99 / £99 / AU$149 for a set of four. AirTags are available for pre-order now and will be available for purchase on April 30.

If you want to apply an AirTag to your keys, motorcycles, or other things, you’ll need to buy an extra key fob or loop, which are available in silicon or leather and start at $29 / £29 / AU$45.

Design

The AirTag is around the size of a quarter or a £2 coin, measuring 1.26 x 1.26 x 0.31 inches / 3.19 x 3.19 x 0.8cm and weighing just 11g. The stainless steel disc has a removable plastic cover that secures the AirTag’s CR2032 battery which typically lasts for 10 years, and a built-in speaker that emits a sound when the Find My app on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac is used to locate this.

The AirTag has an IP67 score, which means it can withstand an unintentional dunk in a deep puddle or a wash, and it’s also eligible for Apple’s free engraving programme, which allows you to add text, numbers, and emojis to the smooth plastic cover, making it easier to distinguish between AirTags if you have many.

Apple hasn’t mentioned the Bluetooth range of AirTags, but we think it supports Bluetooth 5.0, which is the most recent iteration of the device which has a range of 800 feet / 240 metres which is integrated into the iPhone 12.

Performance

The AirTag released a brief beep after we cut the packaging and was automatically recognised by our iPhone. We were able to give the AirTag a name, and it was linked to our Apple ID, so it appeared in the Items tab. It was also quick to insert the AirTag into the leather key fob and loop attachments, allowing us to tie them to our keys and a bag’s harness.

When you tap the AirTag in the Find My app’s things folder, you’ll see some choices, like Play Sound. We discovered that it took a few seconds for Find My to bind to the AirTag and emit three cycles of five electronic beeps, which recorded 64db on our sound metre – loud enough for us to hear it from under the pile of cushions on the couch.

The seven-second interval of electronic beeps is long enough to detect something in the same room or next door, but it wasn’t enough while we were upstairs and our ‘misplaced’ object was downstairs. We had to press the Play Sound alternative four times before we could get close enough to the AirTag to hear it in this case.

Conclusion

As we have more time to bring the Apple AirTags through their paces, we’ll concentrate on checking as many of their features as possible so that we can make a more informed decision.

We’ll be looking to see how precise Precision Finding is, as well as if the privacy settings are as secure as Apple claims.

However, based on our limited experience with the AirTags so far, they seem to be an indispensable and simple-to-use mechanism for reuniting you with your lost belongings if you’re a chronic loser of keys, wallets, and the like.

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