Apple AirTag review

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All you need to know about Apple AirTag - the latest smart gadget that helps you ‘lose your knack of losing things’

Apple AirTag keys on grass
(Image credit: Emily Peck)
Livingetc Verdict

Reasonably priced, the Apple AirTag is the latest device to join our list of ‘tried it, loved it, can’t live without it’ gadgets. Simply pair it with the Find My app and use your smartphone or iPad to track all your stuff.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Uses Bluetooth and special UWB technology for accurate sourcing

  • +

    Compatible with iPhone or iPad running iOS/iPadOS 14.5 or later.

  • +

    Large community of Apple iPhone users

  • +

    Emits a tasteful yet powerful tracking alarm

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    You need to buy a separate strap

  • -

    Not Android compatible

  • -

    You can’t find your phone using the AirTag

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Constantly find yourself asking ‘where did I put my keys’ every time you leave the house? Apple AirTag - a gadget that gives you a ‘super-easy way to keep track of your stuff’ – is here to help.

In recent months we’ve seen a host of tech giants such as Samsung and Vodafone also launch their own versions of smart location trackers such as these, which act as a great tool for keeping your personal possessions close to hand and tracing them when they get misplaced. To find out what sets the Apple AirTag apart and if it lives up to Apple’s reputation for inventing intuitive and easy to use gadgets, we’ve reviewed the AirTag and its accompanying Find My app here. 

To discover how well the device performs on an everyday basis we got hands-on with a sample and actively went about wild losing our belongings to find just how easy they were to find again – hurling them around the house and garden without a care in the world - all in the name of research.

Keen to learn more? Find out about the most popular location trackers in our best key finders feature, where we’ve highlighted the AirTag as ‘Best for iOS users’.

Apple AirTag app on phone

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirTag: Set up and Specs

  • Tracking tech: Bluetooth and UWB-technology 
  • Size: Dia3.2cm x H0.8cm
  • Durability: Waterproof up to a metre for 30 minutes 
  • Battery life: 1-Year Replaceable CR2032

Stylishly designed to slip into a backpack or attach to your keys so you can track your stuff whenever it gets lost, the AirTag works with the Find My app and is the latest gadget to join Apple’s growing portfolio. 

While the AirTag is discreet enough to slip into a coat or backpack pocket, it doesn’t come with a hole on its body to easily attach to an existing key ring or bag strap like the Tile Pro. So, if you want to attach it to a set of keys, you will need to buy an additional strap.

We found set up easy to handle once we were prompted to update our software. As soon as you take the AirTag out of the box and pull out the plastic strip it emits a gentle beep so you know it’s ready to use. We managed to pair the AirTag to the Find My app in around a minute and were also able to see which of our contacts were also using the app and share our location with them – although this is perhaps a setting you may want to switch off to your general contacts and refine the search to close family members or people you want to share your location with.

Apple AirTag: Features

As well as using Bluetooth, the AirTag app uses ultra-wideband (UWB) technology for a more accurate find and, provided you have iPhone 11 and up, allows you to pinpoint your lost items to within 10cms.

We tried locating lost back door keys in the garden using the Find My app. Once you press the ‘Find’ button in the app, it will get to work and point you in the direction of the missing item and tell you how far away it is. The AirTag will then play a gentle yet effective sound until you’ve managed to locate it. When we tried this it told us that the signal was weak and to move locations – with a handy arrow directing us along the way.  

Apple AirTag Find My App

(Image credit: Apple)

The great thing about the AirTag is that, with the help of billion+ iPhone users, you’ve got a greater chance of tracking lost items that are out of your range. A lost AirTag out of your Bluetooth range can be automatically picked up by other iPhone users, for example – whether they own an AirTag or not – and you will be notified anonymously of its last location.

We tried this by putting AirTag into Lost Mode via the app, and we were alerted when the item had been tracked. If you provide your contact phone number, the finder can also tap the AirTag with their iPhone or NFC-compatible device and be directed to a website that gives them a phone number to let you know they’ve found your device.

Apple AirTag Detected App View

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirTag: Design

The smooth look and feel of the AirTag is in keeping with the brand’s simple, functional and intuitive design. The AirTag measures 31.9mm in diameter and you can buy a number of stylish and attractive straps to house it. While we admire the design, we would feel a little uneasy leaving the petite AirTag around unattended near a toddler or pet who make a habit of putting things in their mouths.

Once housed in the Apple leather key ring however, it feels a little more substantial and unable to do any harm. You can also buy a Leather Loop AirTag strap, which is great for large items such as your backpack, handbag or suitcase. There are also colourful Polyurethane Loop versions in White, Deep Navy, Sunflower and Electric Orange.

Should you wish to add a bit of designer flare to your belongings, you can invest in the Hermès range of straps specially designed for Apple, which incudes a key ring, bag charm and luggage tap. 

Apple AirTag: Our Verdict

If you’re an Apple fan and pride yourself in keeping up to date with the latest Apple launches, owning an AirTag seems like a natural addition to your set up. While it’s a little more expensive than your average tracker - such as the Tile Mate - it will open you up to a worldwide community of iPhone users so the chances of you being reunited with your lost things are that much higher. 

About This Review

Emily is a lifestyle journalist who covers all things home and technology related for Livingetc. She has first-hand experience reviewing a wide range of lifestyle products – from small appliances such as cake mixers, gadgets such as smart-home cameras, home furnishings such as sofa beds and duvets, and everything in between. She’s even reviewed biscuits to scientifically prove which one is the best for dunking in tea – a tough job but someone had to do it!

All our reviews are based on hands-on experience of using the gadgets at home and on the go, which means we can assess how well they perform in a real-life context and confidently share our findings with you, our Livingetc readers. For this review, Apple provided the AirTag and the product was tested over the course of a week. 

One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.