Apple Introduces Tracking Tags

CUPERTINO — At its Spring Forward product event streamed online, Apple introduced AirTag, a small wireless accessory that helps track and locate items with Apple’s Find My app.

Whether attached to a handbag, keys, backpack, or other items, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My network and can help locate a lost item, all while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption. AirTag can be purchased in one and four packs for just $29 and $99, respectively, and will be available beginning Friday, April 30.

“We’re excited to bring this incredible new capability to iPhone users with the introduction of AirTag, leveraging the vast Find My network, to help them keep track of and find the important items in their lives,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing. “With its design, unparalleled finding experience, and built-in privacy and security features, AirTag will provide customers with another way to leverage the power of the Apple ecosystem and enhance the versatility of iPhone.”

Each round AirTag is small and lightweight, features polished stainless steel, and is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. A built-in speaker plays sounds to help locate AirTag, while a removable cover makes it easy for users to replace the battery.  Users can assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default like “Keys” or “Jacket,” or provide a custom name of their choosing.

Customers can personalize AirTag with free engraving, including text and a selection of 31 emoji, when purchasing from apple.com or the Apple Store app.

Each AirTag is equipped with the Apple-designed U1 chip using Ultra Wideband technology, enabling Precision Finding for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users. This advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag when it is in range. As a user moves, Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope, and then will guide them to AirTag using a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback.

If AirTag is separated from its owner and out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help track it down. The Find My network is approaching a billion Apple devices and can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag and relay the location back to its owner, all in the background, anonymously and privately.

Users can also place AirTag into Lost Mode and be notified when it is in range or has been located by the vast Find My network. If a lost AirTag is found by someone, they can tap it using their iPhone or any NFC-capable device and be taken to a website that will display a contact phone number for the owner, if they have provided one.

AirTag includes support for the accessibility features built into iOS. Precision Finding using VoiceOver, for example, can direct users who are blind or low-vision to AirTag with directions like “AirTag is 9 feet away on your left.”

Apple says AirTag is designed from the ground up to keep location data private and secure. No location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted so that only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location of any device that helped find it.