Apple is considering 'AirTags for clothes' that could help with fitness tracking and health monitoring

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has applied for a patent that relates to a new type of tracker that could be similar to an AirTag but that attaches to a person's body or clothes.

However, where an AirTag is designed to monitor an item's location, this new type of tracker would instead provide health and activity data instead.

The patent was originally filed in 2020, but it's taken until this week for it to be made public. Previously it was registered under Apple employees' names to avoid detection, but it's now listed as one of Apple's patent applications.

Monitor everything

The new patent was spotted by Patently Apple and could be used to monitor things like posture, sun exposure, and more. Fall detection and motion tracking could also be present, opening the door to multiple different use cases.

"Apple describes an iPhone that could communicate with wearable tags that may be placed on different parts of a user’s body or clothing and may be used for one or more health-related functions such as posture monitoring, sun exposure monitoring, physical therapy, running assistance, fall detection, fitness/activity tracking, motion tracking, medical applications, biometric applications, personal training, and other functions," the Patently Apple report notes.

If much of that sounds familiar it's because the Apple Watch already does some of those things, although an accessory similar to an AirTag would allow people to wear their own watch (or none at all) while still collecting the kinds of information mentioned above.

As always, however, it's important to remember that Apple patents all kinds of ideas and it isn't uncommon for them to stay at the patent stage rather than turn into a shipping product. That might be the case here, but the prospect of being able to attach a sensor to our clothes and have it monitor our health does sound compelling — especially if the price makes such accessories a more approachable option than the Apple Watch.

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.