The AirTag was one of those Apple products that took years of rumors and speculation before it launched to the masses. Now it's here, and one of the standout features it has, which makes it a cut above the rest, is Precision Finding. With Precision Finding, you can use your best iPhone to pinpoint and guide you to your item with an AirTag. However, Precision Finding requires certain models of iPhone in order to work.
With Precision Finding, it makes the AirTag one of the best Bluetooth trackers on the market, especially if you're already all-in on the Apple ecosystem. Here's how to use Precision Finding to locate an AirTag with your iPhone.
What is Precision Finding?
Unlike other item trackers, the AirTag uses both Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and the Ultra Wideband U1 chip, and it even has an NFC chip inside. But because it has a U1 chip, the AirTags have a feature that other regular Bluetooth trackers don't — and that's Precision Finding.
Precision Finding allows you to pinpoint the exact location of an AirTag, and your iPhone can guide you directly to it via visual, audible, and haptic feedback. However, Precision Finding only works within a certain Bluetooth range, which is around 15 to 30 feet. Otherwise, it simply uses the Find My network to ping a lost AirTag, which updates the owner to a general location.
What iPhones work with Precision Finding?
Precision Finding is only available on more recent iPhone models from the iPhone 11 and newer. However, despite the iPhone SE (2022) being a new iPhone, it lacks the Ultra Wideband chip required for Precision Finding. So only these iPhones are capable of guiding you to your AirTag with Precision Finding:
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
How to locate an AirTag with Precision Finding on iPhone
Once you have your AirTag and the best iPhone in hand, this is how to locate an AirTag with Precision Finding on your iPhone.
- Launch the Find My app.
- Tap the Items tab if you are not already there.
- Select an AirTag that you want to locate.
- Tap the Find button (it has a green arrow pointing up).
- Follow the on-screen directions to find your AirTag.
If you are not within the 15- to 30-foot range, you'll see that the signal is weak (walls and other obstructions will interfere with the signal). You'll have to move around until you're closer to the general area of the AirTag before Precision Finding kicks in.
Always know where your AirTags are!
As you can see, Precision Finding with AirTag and iPhone is a nifty feature that makes it easier to find your misplaced items around the house. The only drawback is that you need to be within range, but once you have a general idea of where it is, the visual, audible, and haptic guidance is really great to have (and show off to others). And of course, you need at least an iPhone 11 or newer to be able to use this feature. Also, unfortunately, the iPhone SE (2022) does not have the Ultra Wideband chip that is required for this feature to work.
Updated May 2022: These are still the current steps for enabling Precision Finding.
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
Don't get why this isn't designed with AR. Why can't it show what is seen through the back camera and overlay the arrow on that? It does in fact do a very fuzzy version of that at times, but goes opaque when you get close. I honestly haven't found it all that great. It gets you kind of close, but you still have to use the sound to locate your item, and the AirTag isn't very loud. So it's a good thing the UWB gets you closer to start with.
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