Apple yesterday finally unveiled its long awaited AirTag item tracker. The accessory uses the U1 chip (found on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 series) and the Find My app to help navigate you to a tagged item using AR overlays. This "precision finding" feature is not available on phones older than the iPhone 11 series since those models don't sport the UI chip and rely on Bluetooth LE to find an item.
Android users can help AirTag reunite a missing item with its owner
Enabling the Lost Mode setting will alert you or one of the nearly billion members of the Find My network when an AirTag is back within range of an iOS device. A tag that has been discovered and is in Lost Mode can be tapped on its white side by an iPhone or an NFC capable Android handset. A notification should then appear on the screen and when tapped on, it opens a website that shows the serial number of the AirTag and possibly a phone number so that the owner of the tagged item can be called and told that his missing item has been found.
Apple itself says this about the Find My app; "The Find My app makes it easy to keep track of your Apple devices. Locate items you’ve attached AirTag to. And keep up with friends and family. It works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac — even if your missing devices are offline. And your privacy is protected every step of the way."
Apple itself notes that "You can view a Lost Mode message on any NFC-capable smartphone, such as an iPhone or Android phone." Apple didn't make much of a deal about this yesterday during the Spring Loaded event, but it did publish a support page that includes this information. The AirTag owner will have to include his contact information during the setup process as well as activate Lost Mode.
If you hear a sound from an AirTag, Apple explains in simple terms what it could mean. "When moved, any AirTag separated for a period of time from the person who registered it will make a sound to alert those nearby. If you find an AirTag after hearing it make a sound, you can use any device that has NFC, such as an iPhone or Android phone, to see if its owner marked it as lost and help return it."
So that you don't get stalked by an unknown person's AirTag,the Find My app will send you a notification if an unknown AirTag is moving along with you. The latter will also generate a sound, even on an NFC-enabled Android phone, so that the alien tag can be found.
On the support page, Apple adds, "If you can't play a sound, the AirTag might not be with you anymore. If it was with you overnight, its identifier might have changed. Find My uses the identifier to determine that it's the same AirTag moving with you."
Apple goes on to say that "If you believe the AirTag is still with you, look through your belongings to try to find it, or wait to see if another alert appears as you move from location to location during the day. If the AirTag is within range of the person who registered it, you also won't be able to play a sound."
AirTag orders begin 5 am PDT on Friday, April 23rd and the item tracker will be available on April 30th. Engraving is free and a one-pack will cost you $29. A four-pack is priced at $99.
Speaking of Android handsets (especially those with NFC capabilities), these are the models that we consider to be the best in 2021.