13 Cool Uses for Apple AirTags

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Apple’s AirTags are the iOS-specific equivalent of NFC tags that work on both Android and Apple devices. But Apple being Apple, AirTags work better and smarter on Apple devices, giving users more options and creating more fun ways to get creative with them.

1. Don’t Lose Your Belongings

The key use case for Air Tags is so that you can find stuff, or not lose it in the first place. From your keys, handbag or luggage to other devices. If someone else finds them, and they are charitable, they can use the NFC feature in the AirTag to identify it and report it to you.

For personal items, the tag can be clipped on using one of the many stylish Apple or partner tags. Or it can be tucked away inside a wallet or bag. If the item does get lost, you can find it on Find My… app.

with other iPhones helping track it down, whether it is down the back of the sofa, easy to track by playing a sound; in the garage or at the airport or gym, using a mix of Bluetooth and other iOS devices to locate them.


2. Trigger Smart Home Automations

Smarthome owners have a range of automations tied to the many devices and gadgets that they might only want to trigger based on proximity, or only when they are in a room. Apple AirTags make an ideal way to trigger them.

Create a smart home automation using the Shortcuts app and set it to be triggered by an NFC device, and then use your AirTag as the trigger. Create the action, be it for a particular smart lighting theme, heat settings, opening the garage door among many others, and that tag will trigger the activity when you put your iPhone near it.

Of course, Air Tags are pretty expensive for this use, instead, I’d recommend you pick up some cheap NFC tags and see my article on the top uses for NFC tags in a smart home.


3. Find or Track Your Pet

While there are specific pet tracks, and AirTags are a method that should not be relied upon for lost pets, AirTags can still come in handy. Many pets don’t stray far from home, but could end up frightened hiding behind some bins, or just socialising with other pets.

An AirTag can work well when attached to their collar for animals that have some freedom to roam. That’s especially if your cat likes nipping next door for a free meal or hanging around under cars in the neighbourhood.


4. Keep Track of Your Bike

Bicycles are high-theft items as they are often left away from the home in public places. Even with a chain, they are easy pickings to speedy criminals.

However, you can keep a track of your bike by firmly fixing an AirTag under the seat or somewhere else inconspicuous and as long as there are enough iPhone owners in the vicinity, your My Maps app should give you a good idea of where it is and help the authorities track it down if it ends up on private property.

This doesn’t have to apply to only bicycles though, you ebikes, scooters, or even a motorbike could benefit from an AirTag. See how this works in the real world!


5. Playing Games and Scavenger Hunts

For family or friends games, all it takes is one iDevice per team and you can create fun challenges for at-home or local events. Using AirTags and the Display Message feature you can create a series of clues or “treasure” for hunters to locate.

Each AirTag can hold a different clue, and if they are well-hidden are unlikely to be discovered by accident. Clues can be stored as text on the tag and read using the NFC feature, or you can create shortcuts that trigger digital clues in the form of music or videos to make things more challenging.

These can lead to a fun prize at the end of the hunt and make having fun and exercise a challenge for younger people who might not think their iPhone can help get them moving.


6. Keep Your Child’s Favourite Toy Safe

Life can be a major inconvenience when you lose something vital to you, but there is nothing like the pain and anguish of a child that has lost their favourite furry friend or other significant toy.

Attaching an AirTag to that bear, doll or robot can shorten the floods of tears and squeals of anguish as the loved one is easily returned, 99% of the time.

You can also set separation alerts which will let you know when you’ve left the toy behind because it’s been separated from a phone or tablet. You can still set your home as a safe zone so that you don’t get alerts when the toy is left here.


7. Track Your Parcels

Apple AirTags are a really expensive way to track a parcel, but if it is valuable or you want to know exactly how it gets there, they provide a clever way to provide more detailed tracking than any shipping service can. Just one example is technology or musical instruments which are easily identifiable as valuable and can easily vanish.

Put your AirTag in the parcel, let the sender know it is coming (and, presumably, you would want it back). Then, you can sit back and watch it leave the post office, go by lorry, van, plane, rail or other means to its destination. If it is really important you can even call the recipient as it nears their location!


8. Use AirTags to Remember Where You Parked

You can use your iPhone Maps app to remember where you left your car, ideal in very large car parks, festival events and other spaces that are new to you. But an AirTag adds another layer of security, should you get lost, or the car is unfortunately stolen during your trip.

AirTags are not great at transmitting through metal or walls, so the signal from the tag will be limited, especially if it ends up in a garage somewhere rural where there are few iPhone devices for it to ping with. However, for a little extra peace of mind, it is a reasonable investment and a reassurance to know where your car is on busy days out.


9. Add Fashion Accessories With AirTags

Adding an AirTag to a handbag is a no-brainer for safety and security. But you don’t have to make your AirTag a secret, in fact you can make a feature of it. Apple partnered with fashion brand Hermes for some premium apparel including key rings, bag charms and luggage tags to add a touch of class in a range of colours to make your AirTag a statement.

See the range of charms and tags here.


10. Find Your Lost Drone

Drones are becoming very popular these days, as both a hobby or even for serious jobs such as videographers. But even an experienced pilot might not always be able to keep control of their drone, especially if the weather is bad or there’s a technical problem.

When you splash out on a drone, you’ll feel a huge amount of worry if it crashes or loses signal mid-flight so the quicker you can locate it the better. That’s where an AirTag comes in.

At just 11g and 8mm in diameter, they are smaller and more lightweight than a GPS tracker to help you recover your drone quickly and easily, as long as it isn’t in a tree or up a powerline.


11. Find the TV Remote

An age-old problem is losing the TV or other remote around the home. Since they can end up down all sorts of cracks or crevices or in a drawer or bag, it is the ideal item to attach an AirTag to.

Using the ultra-wideband tracking, which allows you to track AirTags to within one foot or so, you can find it and get back to some well deserved Netflix, until it vanishes next time of course!


12. Secure Your Expensive Coat or Jacket

Coat checks, clubs, theatres and other places where you might take off and leave your coat remain high crime areas. Or you might have a common type that can easily be mistakenly picked up from a pile.

Either way, you can drop an AirTag in the pocket or even sew it inside the lining and keep a closer eye on it while you have fun with peace of mind. If you’re going to splash out on an expensive jacket, it’s worth spending that little extra.


13. Protect Valuables at a Hotel or During Travel

Worrying about luggage at an airport is one thing, but there’s also taxis, buses and hotels to worry about. A batch of AirTags (one reason to buy the four pack) can look after a family’s luggage or your valuables if you have a bunch of bags to travel with.

AirTags can help you keep an eye on your luggage when it is out of your sight or you are relying on someone else or a company for their safety.


Questions about AirTags

What’s the Difference Between AirTags and Other Trackers?

The main difference between AirTags and other trackers is that they only work with Apple devices running iOS and iPadOS, limiting them to iPhones, iPods or iPads. The Precision Finding feature also makes use of ultra-wideband (UWB) radio for step-by-step directions, down to within a foot or so.

Can AirTags Be Used for Stalking or Spying?

No, AirTags cannot be used for spying because Apple have added extra features to prevent this. For example, if the AirTag is put in the wrong bag, it will start chirping at a random time interval. For example, when it leaves the range of the registered owner, sometime between 8 to 24 hours, it will start making a noise to alert whoever has it.

Can AirTags Get Wet?

Yes, AirTags are waterproof so you can use them for valuables on boat trips or visits to the beach and they should survive a soaking. The gadgets are rated to IP67 standard for water and dust resistance, up to one meter (3.3 feet) for 30 minutes. Handy if something falls overboard (and floats, obviously).

Are AirTags Better Than Other NFC Tags and Trackers?

The ultrawideband feature makes finding things easier with Apple devices and is a key feature of the product. But if you just want to create some clever smart home buttons, they are a touch on the expensive side compared to the cheap rolls of NFC tags that you can buy for a fraction of the price.

Tile, SmartTag and other trackers have their own benefits aside from usually being a little cheaper, depending on how you want to use them. Some are easier to attach to your valuables, while they obviously work with both Android and iPhone devices.

Finally, the volume of Apple users makes its tracking network more likely to find lost items than the relatively small Tile network, but your mileage may vary depending on location and the number of smartphones in any particular area.

Kieren

I have been building up my smart home since 2016 so I'm a bit of a smart home expert by now. On this blog, I share my favourite smart home devices that I've tested along with tips and tricks I learn by watching countless YouTube videos, scrolling through forums, and tinkering around with my own smart devices. I've always been a Google Home user but I'm starting to think Alexa might have the edge, what do you think?