Don't use AirTags to track your kids, says Apple

A composite image from Apple of lots of Airtag accessories
(Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple AirTags are here, but Apple says we shouldn't be using them to track our kids.
  • Apple says we should be using an Apple Watch, instead.

What's the problem with Apple AirTags?

Apple's AirTags were launched in April 2021 and they're incredibly popular, helping people keep tabs on their important things and devices. However, Apple recommends you should think twice before you attach Apple AirTags to everything you want to track—particularly other people.

Apple has officially spoken out several times warning people that they shouldn't track their children with AirTags. VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, Kaiann Drance, and Apple's senior director of sensing and connectivity, Ron Huang made the comments in an interview with Fast Company.

Apple doesn't specifically make it clear whether the reason for its stance is one of technical limitations or simply not wanting to be sued when an AirTag doesn't do its job one day.

Apple Watch vs Apple AirTags

Parents have been criticized for tracking their kids with AirTags, but it makes complete sense that they'd want to use a fairly new and simple location tracking device to ensure their children are safe—they're cheap, easy to carry and have a long battery life.

So if they're advised not to use Apple AirTags, what should they do instead? Instead of using Apple AirTags to keep track of where your children are, Apple suggests it makes much more sense to use an Apple Watch instead. And, if you do, make sure to pick up some of the best Apple Watch bands for kids to make sure they fit properly.

It might seem like Apple wants you to buy an Apple Watch instead of use AirTags because the Watch is more expensive. But there's more to it. AirTags have anti-stalking features built-in that make them tricky to use to track other people—and rightly so. For example, if an AirTag is moving with you, your iPhone will alert you. 

Maybe this wouldn't disparage some people from using it as they'd be honest with their kids about tracking them. But there are other issues, too. AirTags only work by their proximity to other devices, so if your child goes somewhere that's sparsely populated, they won't be as reliable. 

Instead, one of the best Apple Watches is more reliable. What's more kids can learn more about location-tracking, using their tech to call for help and what to do in an emergency too—like the recent story of the Apple Watch that saved a teen who fell 150ft.

What are Apple AirTags?

If you're always losing devices or misplacing things in your home, then Apple AirTags are for you. They're small, coin-shaped devices that you can attach to a keyring, pop into a bag pocket or slide into a laptop sleeve. 

Once they're set up and in place, you can use the Find My app to track where your devices are thanks to what's called Ultra Wideband technology. This takes advantage of Apple's existing network of devices to locate where your stuff is. 

You will need an Apple device to use the AirTags. But they're incredibly simple to set-up. Just hold it near your device and you'll get a prompt to get it working. Simple.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.