Wondering about AirTags?

Image credit (via Wiki): released into the public domain by its author, Berrely.

Here’s a useful article about AirTags, especially if you get one or more of these trackers as a gift this holiday season. This article also includes links to Macworld’s review of and guide for the device.

• Macworld > “13 uses for an AirTag” by Karen Haslam, Editor (Dec 19, 2022) – Wondering about using AirTags? Here are 13 ways you can use your AirTags – and whether you should use them that way.

(quote) There are the obvious things like attaching one to your car keys so you won’t mislay them, or sticking one in your car so that you can find it in a car park. You could also attach them to your luggage so you can find it quickly when it comes off the carousel–although it’s not actually going to make it appear any quicker. But what other uses are there?

Your pet’s collar … a remote control … sports bag … in your car … bike …


  1. 3rd party tracker

    So, I was not aware that there were some 3rd party trackers which work with Apple’s Find My network (the advantage of scale), as “items” – encrypted Bluetooth ID broadcasters: “Apple licenses third parties to make products that work within the Find My network rules, so you have some choice.”

    This article (and related separate reviews) includes pros & cons and tips. And pricing.

    • Macworld > “How to track bags and luggage with AirTags to avoid loss and even delay” by Glenn Fleishman, Senior Contributor (Jan 13. 2023) – Apple’s AirTag and third-party Find My items that use the same crowdsourced network can be your best friend when a bag goes astray.

    The Find My network relies on [relayed] crowdsourced information that Apple anonymously and securely gathers and transfers among nearby devices. Even though the Bluetooth range of the devices – over which an encrypted ID gets transmitted – might be from several to dozens of feet inside a bag and packed alongside other ones, the sheer density of Apple iPhones, iPads, and Macs makes up for that. Baggage handlers and other airport staff clearly carry their own iPhones based on the precision of the location that I often saw during my airport travels.

    1. The original AirTags remain a good bargain, though they aren’t ideal by themselves [without an accessory holder] for luggage or carry-on bag tracking …

    2. The Chipolo ONE Spot is another round tracker, … [which] includes an integral keychain ring, too. [“Once paired, the ONE Spot appears in the Items view in the native Find My app in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.”]

    3. The Pebblebee Clip is a step up from the AirTag and One Spot, providing a rigid metal frame, LEDs to provide additional status information, and a USB-C port for recharging.

    Pebblebee is unique among third-party Find My items so far in offering you a choice between associating the Clip … with either [not both] Find My (Apple only) or the Pebblebee app (iPhone and Android).

    A caveat

    The Pebblebee app … is all about proximity: it pairs with a single iPhone, iPad, or Android device [1], and tracks the last-known location of the Clip relative to that device. With background location tracking enabled, you can set the app to alert you if you’ve left a Clip behind.


    [1] I am not sure if this same limitation applies to Life360’s Tile (via iOS or Android app). [And sharing is a different feature.]

    • “Use My Tile with More Than One Device

    You can ring your Tile from any device logged into your Tile account.

    Remember, a Tile can only be connected to one device at a time. If you are within range of your Tile and your device is not connecting, it may be because it established a connection with your other device that was signed in to your Tile account first.

  2. Tile tracker example
    Image credit: Tile.com


    AirTag evaluation

    Currently my notes only compare Apple’s AirTag with Tile (Android app), as I’ve not purchased any AirTag work-alike items (3rd-party trackers compatible with Apple’s Find My network).

    User Interface: AirTag’s edge

    AirTag’s app user interface offers direct integration on Mac, iPad, and iPhone, with the user experience consistent across all devices.

    The AirTag app has location view options – street, hybrid, satellite – while Tile only has street view. I found Apple’s location view (hybrid) easier to grasp a tracker’s location in context (although, for my local area, the ages of satellite images in Find My and Maps differ, possibly due to two data sources).

    Location history: Tile’s edge, with caveat

    The Tile app, with a Premium subscription, provides a location history for each Tile.

    AirTag’s Find My only offers the current location, albeit using a more scaled crowd-sourced network of Apple devices.

    On the plus side, Apple’s location service likely offers better privacy and security protections, by not including location history.

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