Apple's new Bluetooth trackers help keep an eye on important things – whether they are very close by or far away. We'll show you seven practical ideas of what you can do with AirTags – including a few surprising ones.
From Claudia Frickel
What are Apple AirTags and how do they work?
The AirTags from Apple are small, round radio transmitters that you connect to your iPhone. Then you attach them to all kinds of objects and can track them that way. In this way you can find what you have lost or misplaced, for example your keys or wallet.
With a diameter of 31.9 millimeters, the trackers are roughly the size of a 2 euro coin – but with a height of 8 millimeters, they are thicker. A Bluetooth module and an NFC antenna operate in the device, which weighs 11 grams. The water-repellent transmitter gets its energy from a battery that is supposed to last a year.
If you want to track down something, you open the “Where is?” App on your iPhone or iPad. To do this, you have to work with iOS or iPadOS 14.5. If the object and AirTag are nearby, you will see this on the screen. If desired, the tracker also emits a tone so that you can find it more easily. iPhones from version 11 even guide you directly with directions and arrows.
The range with Bluetooth is only up to 120 meters. Nevertheless, you can also use AirTags, for example, to locate the backpack that you forgot on the train – or the camera in the holiday hotel. Apple uses hundreds of millions of other iPhones and iPads for tracking over the “Where is” network. They recognize the AirTags automatically and transmit the location in encrypted form. You will then find out where the thing you are looking for is. This happens anonymously and without anyone being able to draw any conclusions about people or the location.
An Apple AirTag costs 35 euros. If you want to attach it, you need a trailer as an accessory. But what else can you do with the radio transmitters? We'll tell you.
Apple AirTag (pack of 4) Buy now at
Find everyday objects quickly
The AirTags are particularly suitable for everyday things, such as a key. Picture:
Remote control, glasses, keys, wallet: we are always looking for some things. Where is the charger or the admission card for the company again? If you attach an AirTag to it, you will have things to hand quickly. This also works with larger items such as laptop bags, handbags or rucksacks.
Emergency medicine doesn't look far
The AirTag can also be used for important medication. Picture:
When it comes down to it, you want emergency equipment to hand quickly. This includes the first aid kit, fire extinguisher, EpiPens for allergy sufferers or important medication for seriously ill people. Of course, you should always know where these things are. But maybe someone from the household moved it or you just can't remember in the excitement. An AirTag can lead you there directly.
Find your bike or car again
Find your car again quickly? No problem with the AirTag. Image: © BMW 2020
The Apple AirTags are not intended as anti-theft devices. Still, you can use them for that. Attach them to your bike or car – ideally so that they are not immediately visible. This is also useful if you have parked your bike and vehicle somewhere and cannot remember exactly where it was. However, the trackers rely on someone with an Apple device being nearby. You therefore do not see the location in real time.
The AirTag also provides valuable services for luggage. Picture:
After the flight you are tired, your luggage is delayed and the other passengers are jostling at the luggage belt. When you have attached an AirTag to the travel bag, you can comfortably retreat to a bench on the edge. When the bag finally appears on the belt, you can see it on the iPhone display. The mobile phone then conveniently shows you the way to your luggage. You will also quickly notice if someone else has accidentally taken your suitcase off the conveyor belt.
To hide something
How about a game of hide and seek? You can also use AirTags for this. Picture:
At first glance it sounds absurd: you can use the Apple AirTags to hide something in the apartment so that you can find it again later. Perhaps it has already happened to you that, for example, you have hidden foreign banknotes or credit cards so well that you can no longer remember. Was it between the towels, behind the books, or in the tool box? With the AirTags you can simply pull them out again. Make sure, however, that you are regularly around with your iPhone: If the trackers have not been in contact with your device for three days, they emit tones.
Keeping track of animals
You can also track four-legged friends with the help of an AirTag. Picture:
Your cat sometimes runs away and hides under a bush in the garden? Or does your dog break loose while walking and roam around the houses? With an AirTag from Apple you can quickly track down the animals. However, this only works if they are not too far away – or if other iPhone owners are nearby. Another alternative is a GPS tracker, which, however, costs more.
Exchange secret messages
Thanks to lost mode, you can also exchange secret messages. Picture:
It sounds like an idea from a spy thriller, but it can be fun with friends: You can use the AirTags to play – and leave messages for someone. To do this, you convert the tracker's "lost" mode.
It's supposed to help you if you can't find an object and the Apple AirTag attached to it. You can then set in the app that it is "lost". If someone finds the tracker and holds their phone to it, a website opens with information. You can leave your phone number and a message so that the finder can contact you. Android smartphones can also read this out if they use NFC.
You can make a game out of this: Put the AirTag in "lost" mode and write a message. The friend, who knows where the tracker is, holds his phone to it – and deciphers the hidden message.
Apple AirTag (pack of 4) Buy now at
- Apple's AirTags are small trackers that you can use to track down things that you can't find.
- These can be everyday objects such as keys, wallets or rucksacks.
- The radio transmitters also show you the way to important medicine, to your runaway pet or to the suitcase on the baggage carousel.
- You use the AirTags more playfully to exchange messages with friends.