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

Apple Airtag Accessories
Apple Airtag Accessories (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's AirTags have finally been announced, but Apple says we shouldn't be using them to track our kids.
  • Apple says we should be using an Apple Watch, instead.

Apple's AirTags are now finally a thing and we're all keen to get our orders in. But anyone planning to use an AirTag to track their kids should reconsider. In fact, Apple says you downright shouldn't do it – 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 also says you should be using an Apple Watch to keep tabs on them, instead. If you do, make sure to pick up some of the best Apple Watch bands for kids, too.

In terms of AirTags, Apple says they're designed for keeping an eye on items, rather than kids and pets.

When I asked Drance about parents using ‌AirTags‌ to track their small children (such as during an outing at an amusement park) or pets (we know you're up to something shady, Fluffy) she was quick to stress that the company designed the AirTag to track items, not people or pets. If parents would like to safely track their young children, she suggests an Apple Watch with ‌Family Setup‌ might be a better choice.As for strapping an AirTag to a pet, Drance says, "If people do that, they just have to make sure that their moving pet gets into range of a device in the ‌Find My‌ network" so its location can be tracked.

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. Regardless of the reason, an Apple Watch seems to be the way to go.

That won't stop me from trying out an AirTag in the kid's bag, though!

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.

  • Kids bag/backpack is probably a good idea. As far as kids go, if you loose one and the tag starts beeping after three days, that probably isn't optimum.
    Pets are a different story. Once understood, if people come across a stray that has an AirTag, being able to just read the NFC with basically any phone and contact the owner seems great. You can get cheaper, programable NFC though.
    I do wish AirTags had a mode where something would beep if you got separated by some distance. I think it was Trakr that had that. If you walked out of the house without your wallet or phone, the tag on your keys would beep. If you left your phone on the restaurant table, your keys would beep before you got to your car. You could geo-fence whether that happened or not. That is something that could be done through software updates I imagine.
  • I'll be sticking one in my kids' pocket after school just to see how it works anyway