iFixit tears down an AirTag and shows exactly where to drill a hole in it

Apple Airtag Being Drilled
Apple Airtag Being Drilled (Image credit: iFixit)

What you need to know

  • Apple's AirTag has been given the iFixit teardown treatment.
  • The company also drilled a hole to show how easily it can be done.

Apple's AirTag item tracker has only been on the market for a few days but it's already been given the iFixit teardown treatment. Being so small, there isn't all that much to see – so iFixit drilled a hole in one to show how easily it can be done.

The full teardown is a great read and includes comparisons with similar trackers from the likes of Tile and Samsung. The AirTag appears to be the smallest of the bunch, with its CR2032 battery taking up the most space inside. There is some Apple chip magic going on, of course, but not a whole lot of it.

But it's what's missing that is most interesting here – there's no hole.

We snagged the market veteran Tile Mate, plus Samsung's Galaxy SmartTag to judge our AirTag against its competition. Of the three, the AirTag's Mentos-esque puck is the tiniest. About the size of a half-dollar coin, it's not much larger than the battery that powers it. The Tile is the thinnest of the bunch, the AirTag about 1.5 times as thick as the Tile, and the SmartTag at least two Tiles high when sideways. Likely spurred by Apple's penchant for compactness, AirTag literally cuts corners by eliminating the keyring hole (a problem we intend to remedy). It goes without saying that Apple has a history of turning essential functions into premium, add-on accessories.

Cynicism aside, the lack of any kind of mounting hole is a potential issue for anyone not wanting to buy any airtag accessories. So what do you do about that? You make your own hole, of course.

After some reconnaissance inside our first AirTag, we grabbed a 1/16" drill bit and carefully punched a hole through the second tracker in our four-pack—after removing the battery, of course. We miraculously managed to avoid all chips, boards, and antennas, only drilling through plastic and glue. The best part? The AirTag survived the operation like a champ and works as if nothing happened.

I'm still not sure I'd recommend punching a hole in your $29 AirTag, but hey-ho. Check the full iFixit post for the lowdown.

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.