Apple 'accidentally' updates every AirTag in the world at the same time - here's why

Airtag
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is a very serious company full of very serious people, and with a trillion-dollar valuation (and the rest), that's no surprise.

Still, we rarely get a glimpse into things behind the scenes that humanize the company a little, and that's exactly what AirTag users got this week.

Apple rolls out its firmware updates for AirTags, its portable trackers, in phases. This avoids the strain of every single one of them requesting the download at the same time, which could have a knock-on effect for other Apple services if the strain gets too much.

That's the plan, anyway, but it appears this time around things didn't quite go to plan as all AirTags got the latest firmware at the same time. And, as spotted by the X (formerly Twitter) account iSWUpdates, it's the kind of thing that can happen to anyone.

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"Looks like Apple accidentally set the deployment dates for the 2.0.73 AirTag firmware to "m/d/24" instead of "m/d/2024" that has used in previous versions and which the AirTag update system uses as date format," the account explained.

"As a result, AirTags think the deployment dates are in the year 24 and they just skip to the 100% rollout batch."

In layman's terms, Apple rolled out its update to the year 24, not 2024, and as someone still putting 2023 on my correspondence, that's something I can appreciate.

AirTag on keychain

(Image credit: Future)

Does it matter?

In all honesty, no - your AirTags aren't likely to take up much of your attention whether they're updating or not, and your update may have been a little slower as a result of the sheer volume of requests. If nothing else, it's a reminder there are humans working at Apple and we all make mistakes.

As for which new features are included in the firmware, there's a good chance it's a series of compatibility fixes, but we won't know until Apple updates its AirTags support page for the new version, 2.0.73.

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Lloyd Coombes
Contributor

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.