Apple rolls out AirTags for locating and tracking personal items

Apple AirTags on key rings
LOST AND FOUND: AirTags let users connect items such as key rings to their iPhone via the Find My app

iPhone users will soon be able to attach tags to their keys, wallets, bags and other personal items that use NFC, ultra wideband (UWB) and Bluetooth technology to enable them to easily locate their belongings with their smartphone.

Apple’s AirTag lets users connect an item to their iPhone via the Find My app, and incorporates an in-built speaker that generates sound to help them find that item if they misplace it and it is nearby.

AirTags also enable users to access the Find My network of Apple devices to locate items if they are no longer in Bluetooth or UWB range.

“Once AirTag is set up, it will appear in the new Items tab in the Find My app, where users can view the item’s current or last known location on a map,” Apple explains

“If a user misplaces their item and it is within Bluetooth range, they can use the Find My app to play a sound from the AirTag to help locate it.

“Users can also ask Siri to find their item, and AirTag will play a sound if it is nearby.

“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.

Find My network

“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,” the company says.

“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 is designed from the ground up to keep location data private and secure. No location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag,” Apple adds.

“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.”

Users can place an AirTag in a bag or a pocket on its own or use an accessory such as a leather loop or key ring that is already fitted with the device.

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