Apple, my favourite technology company and bruiser of bank balances, has released something that should help me never forget where I’ve put important things such as my keys, wallet and backpack/baggage. And if I do lose them, hopefully retrieve them without screaming blue bloody murder. I am, of course, talking about the all new Apple AirTag.
The AirTag is a small round device, not much bigger than a 10 pence piece that fits inside a plastic holder. Within the holder lies the magical guts of the beast that provides Bluetooth and Ultrawide Band radios to help you locate it if you happen to misplace whatever it’s attached to. There’s also a CR2032 battery which lasts about a year before it’ll need replacing (and to do so is easy enough, apply some pressure to the shiny side, twist counter cloockwise and pop off the lid – replace battery and pop the lid back on).
And that’s it. It just sits there, idle, until you want to find whatever the AirTag is attached to. In my case, a leather keyring that’s attached to my house keys. If I misplace them, I just need to open the Find My app on the iPhone and if they’re nearby, I can use the iPhone to locate them – it’ll throw up an arrow and distance measurement and I can move around until I find it. Or I can get the AirTag to play a sound.
If I REALLY misplace my keys (which I did do a few years ago – leaving them at home and locking myself out the house, although until I got the locksmith to let me back in, I wasn’t sure whether I had left them at home or had lost them on the way to work), I can place them in Lost mode which uses the network the iPhones and iPads to let me find it on Apple Maps so I can go and retrieve it. Meanwhile, if the device is Lost mode, anybody coming across an AirTag can scan it, and if you allow the system to do, allow the finder to contact you. Of course, this being Apple, privacy is paramount and there are a number of techniques built into the system to prevent people from getting your details or placing an AirTag on you to track you.
It’s an intriguing system and I’ve bought another four to add to my bags and wallet too. Speaking of wallet, I’ve opted to try and Apple MagSafe wallet which allows me to hold three cards in a secure magnetic wallet that attaches to the back of the iPhone. It doesn’t slip off easily and requires a bit of force to remove – but it does save me a bit of pocket space: I rarely carry cash and payments are usually contactless via the iPhone.