Airtags RenderSource: Jon Prosser

It's been in the works for a long time, but we expect the AirTags to be announced during Apple's "Spring loaded" event on April 20, 2021. These little guys are supposed to be Apple's answer to item tracking competitors like Tile and Chipolo, and some people have even put off purchasing a Tile just to see what Apple's solution is all about. Well, here's what we know about Apple AirTags so far.

Apple Tags or AirTags?

No one knows the official name until Apple reveals it for anything, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. There was, however, a YouTube video Apple released showing steps to use the Find My app on iPhone that accidentally included a leaked screenshot showing the word AirTags. Since this was right from Apple's own support video, we believe this will be the official name of the product. The moniker 'AirTags' seems nailed on at this point.

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What are AirTags?

Airtags MockupSource: Macotakara

From leaks and rumors, it is believed that AirTags are location trackers much like the popular Tile. The general idea is that as long as you have your iPhone or iPad, you can find the AirTags wherever they are. Attach them to your keys or put one in your wallet and you'll always be able to find those items. There are already a number of NFC tags for iPhone on the market. AirTags appear to be similar, but with deeper integration with iOS and iPadOS.

A recent leak seems to indicate that AirTags will be small, with a diameter that is just around 3cm and having dimensions of 32mm x 32mm x 6mm. This means that AirTags should easily be able to attach to things like keys, wallets, bags, and more without getting in the way.

How do AirTags work?

Leaked screenshots show AirTags being set up in the Find My app, which implies that these tags will be listed alongside your Apple devices, like your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. If these screenshots are real, we can expect to be able to track missing items that AirTags are linked with, like a purse or wallet, the same way we'd be able to track our iPhones.

For those who are worried about someone being able to stalk you by slipping an AirTag in your pocket or bag, there is a new feature in iOS 14.5 to prevent exactly that. The Item Safety Feature in Find My will have your iPhone notice and alert you to an unknown item, like an AirTag. This feature will be able to discern between AirTags and other Find My accessories that are tied to your Apple ID versus ones that aren't, which is reassuring. This feature should work for AirTags and any other accessory that can be tracked in Find My.

Do AirTags use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi?

Airtags Colors ConceptSource: Concept Creator

From leaked screenshots, it appears that AirTags will use Bluetooth, meaning there will be a limited range that you will be able to ping the devices. There's no official word on how long that range will be, but Bluetooth range is somewhere in the range 200-400 feet is likely a good guess, but still just an estimate.

Based on leaked images showing the set up process for AirTags it looks like they work similarly to how AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Beats headphones work, which implies that AirTags are Bluetooth connected.

This makes sense since Wi-Fi is only useful if both the device and AirTags are on the same Wi-Fi network. I don't know about you, but I'm less worried about misplacing my wallet in my house than I am about losing it at a restaurant or something.

However, a rumor also suggests that AirTags could potentially use Apple's U1 ultra-wideband chip, which allows the iPhone 11 series and later to be able to locate other U1 equipped devices, like AirPods Pro.

Do AirTags have a Lost Mode?

According to leaked screenshots showing AirTags in the Find My app, there may even be a lost mode that will allow other Apple users to find your lost AirTags if they are out of Bluetooth range of you. Hopefully, if some kind-hearted iPhone users come along, they can return your keys, wallet, or whatever you have your AirTags attached to.

What software do you need to use AirTags?

If you want to be sure you're on the right operating system, you should update to iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 as soon as it becomes available. That being said, however, we've seen evidence of AirTags as early as iOS 13.2, which might mean these new little trackers will be compatible with older operating systems.

Will there be AirTags accessories?

Nomad Airtags PouchSource: Evan Blass

Just like with any Apple product, the AirTags may get a whole new slew of accessories to go along with it. In fact, even though the product hasn't been announced yet, third-party accessory makers are already making AirTags accessories ahead of its imminent release.

One of the third-party brands that will have AirTags accessories ready to go is Nomad, one of our preferred accessory brands. Nomad already has an AirTags glasses lanyard, as well as a leather AirTags keyfob on its 2021 roadmap.

When will AirTags release?

We are expecting Apple to officially announce AirTags during its "Spring loaded" event on April 20, 2021. However, we are not sure if AirTags will be available right away, or if they will launch sometime later in the year.

How much will AirTags cost?

The latest leak hints that Apple AirTags may cost about $39. This seems abotu right, as competitor products like the Tile Pro are about $35. It is also entirely possible that Apple may bundle two to four AirTags together for some savings, much like what Tile does with combo packs.

Regardless, the price seems about right for the product category. It won't be hundreds of dollars like most Apple products, thus making this one of the more affordable accessories for Apple users.

Are you excited about AirTags?

Let us know in the comments below.