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Saturday, December 3, 2022

How AirTags work, Apple’s most innovative product in recent years

Beautiful, easy to use and with absolute precision: the gadget is on the way to always know where keys, backpacks and any other object are. Here’s how our test went.

How to make a tracker attractive ? This must have been the question that kept Apple engineers the most while developing the new AirTags . But the answer is very simple: make it super easy to track and be able to tell us exactly where the object is. The place is no longer enough – at “home” or “office” – but it is necessary to indicate the exact location, giving us the opportunity to track it down with absolute precision, allowing us to use the iPhone as if it were a detector and get to the keys under the sofa or the wallet that fell behind the bed. To do this, Apple has equipped the latest iPhones with the same chip as the AirTags, based on the Ultra Wideband technology – more precise and reliable than Bluetooth – and then it went big to differentiate itself even more from other models on the market: it built the largest network in the world to locate forgotten, lost or stolen objects.

Taking advantage of the Where is app , it has transformed hundreds of millions of Apple devices around the world into small silent hounds that signal the presence around them of other Apple gadgets reported as lost, without passing data and securing everyone’s privacy. users . By inserting the AirTags inside this mechanism, we obtain a practically perfect system: those who buy the tracker to never lose their backpack can count on the “support” of millions of strangers who, unknowingly, will report their position to the owners in case the device is away from its owner or reported as lost.

But the same is also true in reverse: the more locators the Apple sells, the more precise your network will be , completing a truly perfect mechanism. And it is precisely for this reason that we can consider the AirTags one of the most innovative products of Apple in recent years : because they will make us forget once and for all what it means to lose bags, backpacks, computers, laptops, bicycles or any other object. Those who decide to buy these disks will also do Apple a huge favor by creating a network of more easily traceable products: not only iPhone, MacBook and AirTag, but also Belkin, Chipolo and VanMoof products, among the first to join the opening of the Where’s network to third-party articles.

How AirTags work

Each AirTag disk is small and light , made of polished stainless steel and resistant to water and dust to IP67 specifications. Plus it has a built-in speaker that plays sound to help locate it AirTag, while a removable lid makes it easy for users to replace the battery – which lasts around a year. But above all it is very simple to configure: just bring it close to the iPhone and that’s it . You can customize it however you want with an engraving or with the large range of accessories already made available by Apple at the time of launch – there is also an AirTag Hermès collection, with an elegant assortment of handmade leather accessories, including a bag charm, key ring and luggage tag.

Once set, the AirTag will appear in the new “Objects” tab in the Find My app , where you can view the object’s current or last known location on a map. If you lose your item and it is within Bluetooth range, you can use the Find My app to play a sound and locate it or directly ask Siri to play it. The speech is even more interesting if you own an iPhone 11 or 12, since you can take advantage of the U1 chip that enables you the Precise Position function : this advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction of a lost AirTag when it is within range. ‘action. Using it is very simple: just hold the phone and it will guide you to the AirTag telling you exactly the distance to the object and pointing you with an arrow the exact point where it is by combining the inputs of the camera, ARKit, accelerometer and gyroscope. To work, you need iOS 14.5 , which will be available over the next week for all models from iPhone 6S onwards; if you have an Android smartphone it is practically useless because you will not have access to the vast majority of features.

How does it protect my privacy?

AirTag is designed to keep location data private and secure . No location data or location history is physically stored within AirTag, and other users on the Find My network can’t see it if you have your iPhone with you or don’t report it as lost. The communication with the network is encrypted end-to-end so that only the owner of a device has access to your location data, and nobody, not even Apple, know the identity or the location of any device that has helped to find .

To find it quickly, you need to put the AirTag in Lost Mode and be notified when it is within range or has been located by another Apple device. But walking away from the iPhone for a long time is enough for it to start playing, so it’s also a good way to deter thieves. Plus it’s designed to discourage unwanted tracking : if you try to sneak an AirTag on another person’s backpack, the device will send a message to the other user or start ringing to signal their presence. 

The new AirTags will be available in single packs (at a cost of 35 euros) or four packs at a cost of 119 euros.

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