New AirTag battery doesn't work? Here's why

Airtag In Hand Lifestyle Hero
Airtag In Hand Lifestyle Hero (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

I've been using my AirTags for over a year now. I finally got a notification on my iPhone that the battery was low on several of them, and I needed to replace them. No problem — replacement batteries are inexpensive and easy to find. In fact, I already have plenty of them on hand. Or so I thought!

Apple's AirTags are one of my favorite new products; they are easy to use and work incredibly well for tracking just about anything. The included battery in the AirTag is supposed to last about a year, and in my personal experience, they last even a bit longer than that. At any rate, I finally got the notification that two of my batteries needed replacing. I know how to replace the AirTag battery, so I went to my battery keeper and pulled out some brand new Duracell CR2032 lithium 3V coin batteries and proceeded to swap them out. I didn't hear the expected "beep" to let me know that the new battery was working. Indeed, when I checked the Find My app, I saw that the new batteries appeared to be dead. So what was the issue? As it turns out, Apple had issued a battery warning to customers:

"CR2032 batteries with bitterant coatings might not work with AirTag or other battery-powered products, depending on the alignment of the coating in relation to the battery contacts."

Airtag Battery With Bitter Coating Bitterant Lifestyle

Airtag Battery With Bitter Coating Bitterant Lifestyle (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

I checked my battery packaging, and sure enough, I noticed a mention of "bitter taste" (bitterant coating) for safety reasons: to prevent babies from swallowing the batteries. This is great for safety purposes, but unfortunately, the bitterant coating on the battery prevents it from working in the AirTags. I went to Amazon and ordered more CR2032 batteries, this time checking carefully for any mention of bitter or bitterant coating. The packing doesn't say there isn't, specifically, but the ones I purchased did not have the bitter coating. I popped them in, and they work great. Now I can slip it straight back into one of the best AirTag wallets, and away we'll go. Just be sure to store the batteries out of the reach of young children.

And if you'd like to venture out of Apple's ecosystem and track down an alternative tracker, there are a ton of other best Bluetooth trackers available on the market.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.