AirTag is Apple’s first product launch in 2021, and the $29 price tag also makes it the most affordable. So affordable that it’s easy to go a little overboard when trying out the new Apple tech. It’s easy to go from “Where do I even put this AirTag?” to “I need an AirTag for everything!” so we’re curious what you’re tracking with AirTag. The weirder, the better…
I’ve started with an AirTag four-pack. Two are in the obvious places: keychain and backpack.
I’m using Apple’s saddle brown leather keychain for my keys. It’s an attractive keychain insofar as keychains can be attractive, but it’s a bit of a letdown in one regard. My car is the very common 2017 Honda Civic with a push-to-start ignition, and Apple’s good-looking keychain is too wide to fit my key fob without forcing it. You had one job, keychain! I would be more understanding if my car wasn’t the very common Honda Civic. The fix is to simply attach the Apple keychain to my original keychain. This has the added benefit of having the AirTag hang front to back my with keys and not side to side.
The backpack situation is more fun. Initially I was satisfied with just dropping an AirTag in the front pocket of my backpack. The “niceness” of an AirTag in an attractive Apple holder brings a spark of joy that’s completely unreasonable but also undeniable. It’s a bit like how higher-end Apple Watch bands bring no extra utility (and in some cases, reduce utility like waterproofing), yet the market for decoration is thriving. For this reason, I’ve opted to attach the AirTag to a backpack strap with an AirTag loop holder. It’s not logical, but it puts a smile on my face each time I see it. That’s a plus since AirTags are only beneficial when you actually lose something.
🚗 & 🏍
The other two AirTags are tracking my car and motorcycle. The more common purpose of this is to serve as a simple “Where did I park?” tracker. AirTag won’t remember which level of a parking garage you parked, but I can see it being useful for helping me find which parking lot in New Orleans I used when they all look the same. The same is true for the AirTag on my motorcycle. These are definitely less practical than the keys and backpack scenario, but it makes me happy seeing my vehicle locations in the Find My app.
Wallet or won’t it
I did try using an AirTag in my wallet because that’s something I actually do misplace around the house sometimes. Unfortunately the UFO form factor is too bulbous and uncomfortable for me to appreciate as a wallet tracker. Don’t let that stop you if you’re keen on AirTagging your wallet though. My 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast co-host Benjamin Mayo had a good suggestion for Find My wallet trackers: it would be smart for Chipolo to make different sizes and shapes of its Find My tracker to fill the void AirTag creates.
Woof (or meow)
Apple doesn’t recommend using an AirTag to track your pet. That’s because the Find My network relies on the presence of iPhones in the wild to narrow down a likely location. Runaway animals tend to end up in the woods and not a shopping center, but there’s no harm in clipping one in on the collar anyway. My colleague Chance has photographic proof that initialed AirTag collars are 100% adorable either way:
We asked Fi, the makers of smart collars, about their thoughts on Find My integration in their products. For context, Fi uses GPS and LTE for precise location and not Bluetooth proximity based on surrounding iPhones like AirTags. Here’s what Fi founder and CEO Jonathan Bensamoun told us:
We love that Apple continues to push the technical boundaries of indoor precision location tracking with Bluetooth, Ultra-wideband, and the Find My app. As Apple has indicated, this technology is not adapted for dogs, as they wander and get lost outside the home in areas that are way beyond the ‘Find My’ network reach (UWB only reaches a 200m radius).
At Fi we of course use BLE for indoor tracking but we really strive to optimize performance for GPS and long-range network communication 5G/LTE — that’s how we recover dogs who escape in the woods and run through the neighbor’s backyard.
These technologies are fundamentally different, so we do not plan on integrating with the ‘Find My’ network. The value of ‘Find My’ is really to tell you where your keys are in your room — we don’t think this applies to dogs.
My take is that Fi is very good as it is, and adding Find My integration as one more location method would be very cool. Folks are allowed to change their minds, so here’s to hoping we see Fi + Find My in the future. The tones that come from AirTag when you play a sound is also very useful for finding misplaced items around the house or, say, cats who like to hide in impossible places.
So where are you using AirTags? Drone, headphones, or something else? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter! We can’t wait to find out (yes, please laugh, that’s a Find My joke).
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