Apple's AirTag is officially out in the wild now, and it's proving to be a great way to keep track of your most important items, especially when you have the best AirTag accessories. With an AirTag, you'll be able to track your keys, wallets, purses and bags, umbrellas, remotes, and so much more. And if those items get lost, the massive Find My network is composed of almost a billion Apple devices, which is much larger than competitors like Tile.
But Apple has consistently said that the AirTag is meant to track items, not people or pets. For people, Apple encourages you to use the best Apple Watch for that because of the Family Setup feature (but make sure it's a GPS+Cellular model, because it doesn't work on GPS-only watches). But for pets, well, they can't exactly use an Apple Watch, you know?
While Apple actually has anti-stalking measures in place to prevent an AirTag from being used to track people, the same can't be said for pets. Apple's Kaiann Drance, VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, said, "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."
So while Apple discourages using an AirTag to track your dog or cat, it isn't impossible. Just get one of those AirTag loop accessories and hang it on your pet's collar. After all, it seems like a logical use case for an AirTag.
But why would Apple not encourage it?
Apple probably doesn't want to be held liable in case anything happens to Fido
It may be pretty obvious, but I believe that Apple discourages using AirTags on pets because they do not want to be held liable if anything unfortunate happens. By saying that an AirTag should not be used for this scenario specifically, Apple is no longer liable for anything that may happen while you use an AirTag to track pets.
For example, if you put an AirTag on your dog and they accidentally escape from your yard, anything can happen from that point on. As sad as it is, many pets may get hit by a passing car that did not even see the pet crossing the street. In this case, someone may get mad that they couldn't find their dog with the AirTag before it got hit and may try to blame and sue Apple by claiming that the AirTag did not work. Or perhaps your dog or cat somehow got the AirTag loop attachment off (maybe a cheap accessory) and got out — there would be no way to track them with an AirTag since it actually isn't on them, and one realizes this too late.
I live in California, where people seem to sue over everything, so I can totally picture these scenarios. But with Apple saying that they do not encourage using AirTags on pets, they bear no responsibility for anything that may happen as a result.
In short, while you can put an AirTag on your dog or cat, Apple does not encourage it to cover its own butt in case of legal action.
You could theoretically still do it, to the dismay of Apple
Again, Apple has distinctly said that they don't encourage it, but if you do, just make sure that the pet simply gets into range of an Apple device in the Find My network so that its location can be tracked down. With almost a billion devices in the Find My network, that shouldn't be very hard to do. After all, it's much easier to find someone with an iPhone, iPad, or even a Mac (no additional downloads required) than it is to find someone else with a Tile or other competing item tracking product.
Plus, when someone does find your dog or cat, and they see the AirTag on the collar (along with a regular pet tag), they can simply tap it with their own iPhone or even an NFC-enabled Android device to contact you if it's put into Lost Mode. And even if your pet is skittish around other people, just wandering past another Apple device can let you see where they were at, making it slightly easier to track them down. It's definitely been a nice extra layer to the other necessities (microchip and dog or cat tags) in case they accidentally get out.
Still, just know that if you put an AirTag on your pet, you're pretty much doing so at your own risk. And honestly, I would recommend looking into a high-quality AirTag loop or keyring accessory that will hold up to constant movement and even fiddling that your pet may do to things hanging on its collar.
Are you AirTagging your pets?
Now that AirTags are out, have you put one on your pets, or are you planning to? How is it working out for you so far? Let us know in the comments!