This episode of Featured App of the Week focuses on the new Apple AirTag Bluetooth trackers and how they can be used with any compatible Apple iPhone to find and recover lost items.
For more information about Apple AirTags, visit Apple's website at: https://www.apple.com/airtag.
Other tracking devices discussed within this episode include:
To learn all about digital photography using your iPhone, please check out the iPhone 12 Pro Max Digital Photography eBook by author Jason R. Rich. To order your copy, visit: www.iPhoneBookShop.com.
Featured App of the Week – Episode #39
Welcome back to the Featured App of the Week podcast. I’m Jason Rich. In this episode, the focus is on Apple’s new AirTags - which are optional accessories you can now purchase and use in conjunction with your iPhone to locate and retrieve lost items.
An AirTag is a small, circular device that’s uses Bluetooth and other technologies to communicate with your iPhone. When placed on or in almost any item, such as a purse, briefcase, piece of luggage, or on a keyring, for example, you can use your iPhone to help you locate that item if it gets lost.
The concept of Bluetooth trackers has been around for a while. A company called Tile has been a pioneer in this product category, but now that Apple is offering these trackers, it’ll likely be AirTags that dominate the market.
The advantage AirTags have over other Bluetooth trackers is that if the missing item is out of Bluetooth range from your own iPhone, you can use the Find My app that comes preinstalled on your iPhone to mark the item - and the AirTag – as missing.
When you do this, as soon as the AirTag comes into close proximity with any other iPhone, it will anonymously report the location of the AirTag to your iPhone so you can recover the AirTag and the item it’s attached to. Since there are hundreds of millions of active iPhones that are compatible with AirTags, your chance of locating missing items is very high.
Apple is selling AirTags for $29.00 each. A four-pack is priced at $99.00. One cool feature is that when you order your AirTags from Apple’s website, you can have each tag engraved with an emoji icon or your initials to personalize its appearance.
In my opinion, the biggest drawback to the AirTag design is that unless the object or item you want to link the Bluetooth locator with has an inside small pocket for the AirTag, you’ll want to invest in an AirTag holder.
Apple sells a leather key ring that holds an AirTag for $35.00 each. A leather loop AirTag holder sells for $29.00 each. Both come in a small selection of different colors. Several third-party companies have already released AirTag holders that utilize different designs.
When using an AirTag with a piece of luggage, backpack, briefcase, or pursue, I recommend placing the AirTag inside the bag. Don’t dangle it from the outside of the bag, where it’s easily noticeable and can be torn off either accidently or on purpose.
Initially setting up an AirTag is easy. Simply remove the device from its packaging, take off the clear plastic protector film that covers the AirTag, and then hold it close to your compatible iPhone. The setup screen on your iPhone will appear automatically.
You can then name each AirTag based on what item it’s being attached to and then add an emoji icon to it for easy visual identification on your iPhone’s screen. With a few on-screen taps, the AirTag will digitally link with your iPhone. At this point, the AirTag becomes trackable by your iPhone using the built-in Find My app.
Anytime you then launch the Find My app, the location of each active AirTag will appear on a detailed map and the AirTag itself can play a beeping tone to help you find it. If they AirTag can’t be located by your own iPhone right away, tap on the “Enable Lost Mode” button. When you do this, you’ll be alerted as soon as someone else’s iPhone comes into close proximity to your AirTag. Again, this is an anonymous process.
Also, if someone finds your item with the AirTag attached and holds your AirTag close to their iPhone, a custom text message that you compose will be displayed on their screen, so you can contact that person to retrieve your lost item.
Overall, AirTags are nicely designed, small, and extremely easy to set up and use. They’re also very affordable, especially if you forego using an AirTag holder that’s sold separately. As a frequent traveler, I placed an AirTag in each of my checked luggage pieces as well as my carry-on, so I can track the whereabouts of my belongings throughout a trip and know the location of my checked luggage when it’s in the airline’s possession.
AirTags can also be placed on items around your home that you often misplace, such as your eyeglass case, keys, a backpack, or a TV’s remote control. Two other useful things to know about AirTags is that they’re water resistant and have a replaceable battery that lasts for up to one year.
If you’re not an Apple iPhone user, there are countless other Bluetooth trackers, from Tile and other companies, you can use with an Android-based smartphone. For example, Samsung now offers Samsung SmartTags that also cost around $30.00.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile introduced a small GPS tracker that uses satellite-based GPS and cellular data technologies to track items. The SyncUp trackers from T-Mobile are available from T-Mobile dealers for $2.50 per month and they work with both iOS and Android smartphones that have a proprietary app installed.
Whether you use AirTags, Tile trackers, or other type of tracker, finding missing items has never been easier. Well, that’s it for this edition of Featured App of the Week. If you found the information in this episode useful, please tell your friends about the podcast, subscribe, and leave a positive review. Until next time, I’m Jason Rich. Thanks for listening.