Apple’s AirTags were first revealed almost a year ago, and the past year has shown them to be a massive success. Users rushed to stores, both brick-and-mortar and online, to buy scores of AirTags that they could attach to things that are easily lost. We know the product rocks — but how long do AirTags last? Do you have to change AirTag batteries frequently? How high are your expectations from the AirTag battery life? We answer all your questions in this in-depth article, so keep reading!
How long do AirTags last?
You can expect your AirTag battery to last around one year, approximately. The AirTag battery is replaceable but not rechargeable and is relatively easy to replace, too. Thankfully, your Find My app will indicate when it’s time to swap out the battery on any of your AirTags.
So you’ve bought AirTags and used them for your house keys, your car keys, there’s a tag on your pet, you’ve kept one in your laptop bag — all of these are pretty common uses for AirTags. Since we tend to attach AirTags, register them and forget about them, we’re sure the thought must have popped into your mind — how long does the battery last, and how will I know if the battery dies?
Apple adds a battery inside each AirTag, and Apple claims (and user reviews over the past year have backed up this claim) that the AirTag can last a year without needing a replacement. This is, of course, subject to how often you use them.
If you use your Find My app once in a while and not multiple times a day, you can easily expect your AirTags to last a year without needing a battery change. This is because the activity that draws the most power from the tiny cell inside the AirTag is when you use your iPhone app to trace the AirTag.
The good news is that when your AirTag is low on juice, you will get a notification alerting you on the Find My app on your phone.
Signs of low battery
Being the ever-thoughtful tech company that it is, Apple does not require you to look for signs of low battery on your AirTags, as your phone will notify you as soon as the battery is on the verge of depleting. And by that, we mean a month before the battery dies out.
And how does Apple do this, you ask? By sending you a notification through the Find My app on your iPhone. You should see a notification that says, “AirTag battery is low,” followed by more information on which specific AirTag is low on juice. You can then add a reminder to pick up new batteries or if you already have new ones, swap them out whenever you find the time.
How to check AirTags battery life
If you don’t feel like waiting for notifications for low battery on your AirTags and wish to see how much charge is left on all your AirTags, you can do this too — via your Find My app. Simply open up your iPhone, open the Find My app, and navigate to the items tab at the bottom. Here you should see all your AirTags listed, along with a low battery indicator next to them. This is only if the battery is low — you won’t see an indicator showing how much charge is left on each of your AirTags.
Do you have to charge an AirTag?
AirTags come with a battery pre-installed, but these aren’t the chargeable kind. Any attempt to charge these cells can result in an accident. e.
Type of battery in AirTag
The battery inside the AirTag is a Lithium CR2032 coin cell. These batteries should be easy enough to find at a local store since they’re used in electronics such as wristwatches, calculators, medical devices, and some toys. You can go for a brand like Panasonic or Duracell as these companies make high-quality batteries, and you can buy a couple as the shelf life on them is almost 10 years.
How to Change AirTag Battery
So after a year of use, your phone finally tells you that it’s time to change the battery on your AirTags — but how exactly do you do this? The design is quite sleek, so it’s definitely not easy to figure out how to access the battery compartment. Worry not; we can definitely help you out here!
Steps to change your AirTags battery
Here are the steps to change the battery inside your AirTag:
- Keep your new CR2032 coin battery ready, and take your AirTag out of its case if you’re using one.
- With the silver side of the AirTag facing you, press down on the cap with your other hand and turn the cap anti-clockwise.
- It should spin easily enough, but if it does not, press down on the cap a bit and try to turn the cap again. There’s a chance that dust or lint may be stuck in the edges. To understand this motion better, just refer to the image below.
- When the silver cap is loose and moves freely, take the cap off. You may need a sharp object, but be careful as you do not want to damage the AirTag.
- Remove the old battery and pop in the new one. Make sure you use the correct orientation, with the positive side of the battery facing up.
- Now put the cap back on your AirTag, and this time around, turn it clockwise to lock it into place.
- If you did everything right and got the cap back in the proper position, your AirTag should play a chime sound to confirm that everything is in working order!
In our experience, when it comes to batteries, it’s in your best interest to choose the best option possible. Thankfully, the CR2032 batteries for the AirTags are relatively inexpensive, so you don’t have to give it a great deal of thought before buying from a reputable brand. You can find batteries from brands like Panasonic or Duracell on Amazon. Of course, brands like Energizer or Toshiba should also work fine.
Just a heads up — Apple recommends against using CR2032 batteries that come with a non-toxic bitter coating. These batteries are meant to discourage children from biting down or eating them, but Apple claims that these may cause your AirTags to malfunction.
What affects AirTags battery life?
Some factors may cause your AirTags to give you reduced battery life. Here are some of them.
AirTags are supposed to beep when they move away from their registered iPhone, and if your AirTag spends all day beeping, this can cause your AirTag battery to drain. Apple claims that normal usage should give you a whole year of use — but what’s considered normal? According to Apple, it means using Precision Finding once a day and four play sound events. So if you tend to make your AirTags beep all the time because you misplace items, this may cause your AirTags to run out of charge faster.
Replacement battery manufacturer
When replacing your AirTag battery, make sure you choose one of the manufacturers listed above — Panasonic, Duracell, Toshiba, or Energizer. These brands make excellent batteries, and these should give you another good year with your AirTags. Going for a cheap brand may cause your AirTag to fail, and that’s the last thing you want when you’re frantically searching for it!
The AirTags are pretty sturdy, and Apple has designed them to survive in environments ranging from −4°F to 140°F (or −20°C to 60°C). This is quite incredible, and this means that your AirTags should work just fine even when exposed to harsh conditions, both hot and cold. But take a look at the range — if you live in a place where temperatures drop lower or go higher than that, then you can expect your AirTags to act up. And you can rest easy about splash, water, and dust resistance, as AirTags are IP67-rated.
Apple AirTag features
Let’s take a look at all the cool features that the AirTags offer.
Apple’s AirTags work on Ultra Wide Band technology, courtesy of Apple’s U1 chip inside of these devices. These chips are also present inside the iPhone 11, 12, and 13 series of phones. Precision Finding is a feature that is possible thanks to these chips and allows you to accurately detect the AirTags and give you critical information like distance from the AirTag and which direction to go. It can even indicate if the AirTag is on a different floor.
To use Precision Finding, all you need to do is open up the Find My app on your iPhone, tap any AirTag that you see listed under items, and choose ‘Play Sound.’ An arrow will pop up on your screen almost immediately, guiding you toward the AirTag. The distance from the AirTag will also be shown on your screen.
This technology is incredibly useful, which is why the AirTags have found so much success among buyers.
Separation alerts are notifications that you receive when you leave an AirTag behind. The best part is that you can customize which AirTags will notify you if you leave them behind and which ones won’t. You can also set a space as a Trusted Location, which means that your AirTag won’t notify you if you leave it in that space.
Separation alerts are great for items like wallets and keys, as you typically would not want to leave these lying around. This is also useful if someone tries to steal any item with a hidden AirTag with separation alerts, as you will be immediately notified.
Privacy and security
While there are more happy stories of AirTags, unfortunately, there are some scary stories. While Bluetooth trackers have always existed (like Tile), the issue when Apple makes them is that the tech is easily accessible to everyone and many people also become aware of the misuse of such technology. Apple has definitely tried its best to make the AirTag safe — for example, you are notified if an unknown AirTag is traveling with you.
AirTags are pretty small, and accessories help you attach them to various items. For example, Apple sells leather loops and keyrings on its website, which is ideal if you want to add an AirTag to a keychain. But head over to Amazon, and you see items such as credit card-sized cases, protective covers, wrist bands, anti-theft number-coded locks, and more. You can even buy an AirPods case with a slot for an AirTag!
We even saw an AirTag case for Apple remotes to help you find them! And if you still lose your Apple remote, here’s what you should do!
Here’s a video about AirTag features that you’d love to know about:
Can you see an AirTag’s location history?
AirTags are fantastic and, in our eyes, revolutionary — they solve an issue that humanity has had forever, which is misplacing small items. Being able to narrow the distance down to inches has made all our lives better. While a lot of amazing technology is packed into the AirTag, we must point out that this is not a GPS device. It is not continuously transmitting location data, and therefore, it cannot store location data for all the places it has traveled to.
It simply works on nearfield technology, so all it can do is stay in touch with your iPhone and notify you if it’s left behind. It will also notify you if it gets lost and allows you to track it when it does. In short, you can see the current location of any AirTag that is connected to your iCloud account but not its location history. So that’s a no for this question, at least for now!
How often does AirTag update its location?
You might be concerned about how often the AirTag will update location information once it gets away from you. AirTags use nearby iPhones and piggybacks off them to send you information, using a highly secure system that does not share any data about you or itself. But this means that there needs to be an iPhone nearby for the AirTag to update its location. Since iPhones are pretty popular all over the world, there is a strong chance that the location updates will be frequent.
The only way you will stop getting location updates is if there is no iPhone nearby, in about a 30-foot range. At this point, you will only get a ‘Last Seen’ message from your AirTag, depending on when it last made contact with an Apple device.
Can AirTags be Used to track people?
Unfortunately, Apple AirTags can be used to track and stalk people, and they have been used for such criminal activities in the last year in multiple separate incidents. Police stations across the country have seen a spike in cases of women being stalked using AirTags. Hundreds of reports have been filed by women who report that AirTags have been used to harass them.
What is Apple doing to prevent stalking?
Opinions are polarized on whether Apple reacted quickly enough or strongly enough once the stalking/harassment cases started occurring. But regardless, Apple has outlined a few steps to tackle the issue of AirTags being misused. Here are some of them:
- Apple plans to make the beeps on AirTags louder so that people can hear it if someone puts it in their bag or on your car.
- Apple is going to allow iPhone users to use Precision Finding to find an AirTag that is following you around so that you can trace it quickly. This is useful if the AirTag has been hidden well, like under your car.
- Users will be alerted of the presence of an unknown AirTag sooner than the current 3 days. Apple might switch this to 8 hours.
- An Android app called Tracker Detect was launched by Apple, which helps Android users to track AirTags in the vicinity. Unfortunately, you have to use the app actively to check for AirTags, which means it lacks the automatic scanning that iPhones offer. While we would love to see a better app, it’s at least a little bit of relief for now.
- Apple also claims to be working closely with law enforcement and assigning identifying codes for each AirTag, to hold stalkers and other such criminals accountable.
AirTags for pets
Related Read: Apple AirTag Range: How far can I track my item?
One excellent use for an AirTag is on your pet. Be it cats or dogs — having a pet run away can be pretty traumatizing to owners, and finding them can be very difficult. With an AirTag, it’s incredibly convenient as it doesn’t have the battery requirements of a GPS tag, and AirTags are light and look good. The chances of your pet running off far away from civilization is low, so as long as it finds an iPhone or iPad nearby, you should get a notification about your pet.
Need a video to convince you? Watch this video about an AirTagged cat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are AirTags waterproof?
AirTags are rated IP67, which means they can be submerged 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes. We look forward to the day that AirTags are rated IP68, which allows them to be submerged deeper and for a longer duration!
We hope our article on AirTag battery life helped clear up all your questions, like how long do AirTags last and do you have to charge AirTag to use them. As you know by now, AirTags can easily last a year with a new battery, and the batteries have to be replaced once a year, approximately! If you have any more questions regarding AirTags, their battery life, or features, make sure you leave a comment below!