An AirTag is a gem; it helps you keep track of personal items such as wallet, keys, purse, luggage, and many more items through the Find My app.
However, before making a purchase, it’s best to understand how far an AirTag can track and what else it can do. You might also want to understand how good the underlying technology is.
Here is what you should know about an Apple AirTag, including how far it can track:
How Do Apple AirTags Work?
AirTags primarily communicate by sending out a Bluetooth signal, which any iPhone in the vicinity can pick up. So when you first set up your AirTag, it becomes part of your Find My Network, and you can later find them with the Find My app like an iPad or an iPhone.
An Apple AirTag also has Near-Field Communication (NFC) when put in lost mode; therefore, if someone finds it, they can get your contact information by tapping the AirTag on the back of their phone.
Your iPhone can also detect another person’s AirTag in the phone’s Bluetooth range and alert you if it’s away from the owner’s phone. This feature allows an AirTag to be found even if it doesn’t have any GPS technology.
To sum it up, an AirTag uses Bluetooth signals from other phones around you to find and locate the tag. This feature is amazing because you don’t have to be near any item that has the AirTag on it to find it.
What Affects Apple AirTags Range and Tracking Accuracy?
An AirTag’s range is not defined because it works within the range of Apple’s Find My network. This means that as long as an AirTag is within the Bluetooth range of anybody’s iPhone, or any other Apple device, it can passively communicate with it and help you locate it.
It’s also worth noting that an AirTag uses Bluetooth 5.0; therefore, it can be effective to at least 800 feet. However, the Apple AirTag’s accuracy range depends on your environment, and it can go down if there are a lot of obstructions, such as large metal objects or concrete walls.
Bluetooth is not as accurate as having the actual GPS location of the tag because when someone’s iPhone finds your AirTag, the Find My Service uses the phone’s GPS to find where your AirTag attached item is.
An Apple AirTag doesn’t use GPS because it draws a lot of power; however, lower-power Bluetooth transmitters such as the ones used in the AirTag can last almost a year while consistently sending out Bluetooth signals.
What Can’t an AirTag Do?
An AirTag is perfect if you’re looking not to lose your stuff; however, there are some things that the device cannot do. First, an Apple AirTag doesn’t have GPS and transmits using low-power signals; therefore, the rate at which its location is updated is pretty slow compared to GPS.
You can’t use Bluetooth to find stuff; therefore, the AirTag relies on the GPS signals of iPhones around it to send its location. It’s best to understand that you can’t fully rely on the GPS of the iPhone that finds the AirTag because you don’t know whether it’s having issues.
Lastly, AirTags cannot track and store location data. However, Apple claims this is a good feature because the AirTag can’t be tracked since it doesn’t store its location data on the device itself or in the cloud.
How Often Does AirTag Update Location?
An AirTag doesn’t broadcast its location directly to your phone. Instead, it relays its location information to nearby iPhones or devices in Apple’s Find My network. These devices in the network then automatically and securely pass that information to you.
However, if your AirTag is in a busy location with many iPhones, it might update its location as frequently as every minute or two. However, if your AirTag is in a deserted area, you might stop receiving location updates because the AirTag cannot reach you if there are no Find My devices in its radius.
What Does the “Last Seen” Message Mean?
AirTags do not actively broadcast their location directly to your phone. Their whereabouts are only updated when another device using the Find My app passes within their proximity. The “last seen” message indicates the most recent time that an AirTag made contact with another Apple device that was able to relay its location to the broader network.
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If your AirTag’s “last seen” time was a long time ago, it means that the AirTag is in an isolated place without many passing iPhones to report on its location. It’s also possible that your AirTag is no longer where it was last seen, and there haven’t been any devices that can provide an update on its new location.
AirTags add peace of mind when carrying important or expensive stuff with you. It’s best to understand what an AirTag can and can’t do, and you’ll never worry about losing track of your belongings.