Hidden folder in iOS 13.2 reveals Apple's AirTag tracking accessory

Hidden folder in iOS 13.2 reveals Apple's AirTag tracking accessory
The release yesterday of iOS 13.2 brought some nice features to iPhone users. Chief among them was the Deep Fusion technology that takes photography on the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max to another level. Using AI, nine different exposures of the same scene are analyzed pixel-by-pixel to create a sharper photograph with less noise. While only those with one of the 2019 iPhone models can take advantage of Deep Fusion, all iPhone users will be able to spice up their messages with one of the 59 new emoji that comes with the update. Including different skin tones, there are a total of 230 new emoji for iOS users to employ.

The latest build of Apple's mobile operating system also includes a hidden folder for a product called AirTag. The folder contains nothing but placeholders for the moment, but we can probably assume that this will be the tracking accessory that Apple has hinted about a number of times this year. This product is expected to work in conjunction with the U1 ultra wideband chip that Apple ever so subtly revealed during last month's new product event. The U1 chip sends out short distance radio signals that bounce off of a subject (which would have an AirTag attached containing a U1 chip of its own) and return to the phone. This is similar to the Time of Flight (ToF) system used on certain devices to compute a more accurate depth measurement.

Apple AirTag could become official any day now


Users will be able to find items that have an AirTag attached to them helped along by Apple Maps navigation in some cases. Leaked screenshots from the Find My app show a new tab called Items that opens to a page containing a map on the top with illustrations of the items attached to an AirTag at the bottom. Other leaked images also reveal that augmented reality will be used to help users find lost items. Last month, a 3D image of a red balloon and a 2D image of an orange balloon surfaced along with a string of code that read, "Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view." Other leaked strings of code hinted that the AirTag will have a replaceable battery, and the folder discovered in iOS 13.2 seems to confirm that as it contains a couple of files with BatterySwap in its title. And when the battery on an AirTag is running low, it will send out a notification with its location just before the battery dies.


Earlier this year, Apple received a patent for UWB technology that included an illustration showing how the U1 chip could be used to help find a missing dog, unlock a hotel room door, control a smart thermostat and find a lost phone. If an item attached to an AirTag goes missing, an iPhone user will be able to sound an alarm using the FindMy app. In addition, when an iPhone user moves away from a tagged item, he or she will receive a notification. And when a tagged item goes missing, the AirTag can be put in "Lost Mode." This way, when another iPhone user stumbles across the item, the AirTag will tell him or her who owns it and provide the owner's phone number so that a call or a text message can be made.


It is still unknown when Apple will formally introduce the AirTags, when they might be released, and how much they will cost. The company is releasing the new AirPods Pro tomorrow after announcing them just the other day, so a huge media attended event is not necessary. So as far as we know, the AirTag could become official any day now.

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4 Comments

1. mackan84

Posts: 609; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Now this I want more then AirPods pro. I guess they just want the attention to be on them for now...

3. Vokilam

Posts: 1343; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Long time ago, when I bought my first tile (I was one of the first to preorder for $18) one of the features was that if the time it’s attached to is lost or stolen, anyone with a “tile” app that are near by will able to ping the location of your item to your phone I’m even if your phone is no where close to the area. The problem I had with that feature, there was so few people that actually had this app installed. Now, Appel has solved this problem for me - because anyone with an iPhone will be able to punt the time for you - I’m gonna get lots of these. Thank you Apple! Awesome product!!!!

4. ahmadkun

Posts: 649; Member since: May 02, 2016

that's cool

5. Pdubb

Posts: 250; Member since: Aug 08, 2011

Wait I'm sure you can already unlock hotel room doors with the iphone right now. Am I missing something in this article? I'm sure most phones can do most of those things right now.

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