6 cool ways to use Apple AirTags
How to make the most of Apple's handy new tracker
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If you’ve been eyeing Apple’s new AirTags, you’re probably prone to losing a thing or two in your life. The good news? Apple’s tracker—which creates a mesh network of nearby Apple devices to provide near real-time updates of its location—works great for both finding missing trinkets around the house and hunting down the item you misplaced last time you hit the town.
The bad news? The AirTags’ nondescript design and lack of included accessories for attaching to your to-be-lost items make it difficult to know what or how to make the best use of them. With the addition of a keyring accessory, or perhaps an adhesive mount, you can ensure you’re never locked out or without your wallet again. There are plenty of other handy uses for an AirTag, though. With the right tools and a bit of craftiness, you can transform your AirTags from faceless pucks into accurate trackers that’ll save you the trouble of tearing apart your drawers when you’re already running late.
Tag Your Bags
If you’re an anxious traveler, or simply prone to losing your bag (be it camera, diaper, gym, etc.), an AirTag can be tacked to the inside or outside of your bag to make sure it’s never truly lost. Of course, since the AirTags on their own can’t attach to anything, you’ll need a third-party accessory to attach it (unless you’d rather pack it loosely into a pocket, but that’s a little more risky).
Luckily, there are a few good pieces of gear that can snugly hold your trackers in place and make sure they don’t stray from your designated item. If you’re partial to traditional keyrings, Apple’s Leather Key Ring ($35 at Apple) is a stylish and fairly low-cost way to clip your tracker onto your favorite bag. If you’d rather not use actual leather, WINSINN’s imitation leather case ($6 at Amazon) delivers on the leather aesthetic for a much lower price.
If your bag doesn’t have a keyring loop, or you’d like something a little funkier, Belkin’s Secure Holder ($13 at Apple) and Apple’s Polyurethane Loop ($30 at Apple) both offer ways to hook your tracker around a bag with trickier designs. They each come in a variety of pleasant colors if you’re looking to add a little flair to your ensemble.
See Spot Run
Everyone with a pet has dealt with the fear of losing their companion, and even with the power of social media, finding them can be a stressful and taxing endeavor at best. Rather than risking it, you could equip your pal with an AirTag to make sure they never stray too far from home.
You’ve got a few options, too, so you can find the best fit for you and your pet. There’s the FollowPaw AirTag collar ($60 at FollowPaw) which can replace your low-tech collar. It has a designated slot for your AirTag, so you never have to worry about your tacked-on tracker falling off.
But maybe your furry friend is perfectly content with the collar they’ve already got—no need to muck up their routine. Instead, you can use Nomad’s Pet Tag for AirTag ($30 at Nomad) or the DogTag from Studio Proper ($24 at StudioProper) to clip onto your pet’s collar.
Keep the Water Flowing
A quality water bottle or growler can be costly, and it’s easy to grow fond of your favorite hydration buddy. If you’ve got a favorite water bottle that you’d rather not have to replace, sticking on an AirTag could be the perfect way to keep yourself from leaving it at the coffee shop or gym. With an accessory like Belkin’s Secure Holder ($13 at Apple), you can secure a tracker to your trusty hydrator without worrying about it falling off—and easily remove the strap when it’s time to clean your bottle.
It might be a costly solution, but if you’ve invested a hefty chunk of change into a quality bottle, the investment might ensure you don’t have to splurge more on a replacement down the line.
Stick to the Script
If you rely on having your medication on your person while you’re out and about, and you use a pill organizer to keep things tidy, sticking an AirTag to your box can help prevent losing your meds and risking a health emergency. Nomad’s Curver Surface Mount ($20 from Nomad) allows you to easily attach a tracker to your medicine carrier, and its battery will last long enough (about a year, according to Apple) that you won’t have to worry too much about losing track of your essentials.
Stay on the Right Path
If you’re among the many people who got into cycling during the pandemic, you probably already know that bike theft is a serious problem. Especially if you’ve invested some serious cash, it’s worth taking every precaution to ensure you’re not among those who are left without their wheels.
Nomad’s hard shell mount ($20 at Nomad) comes in handy here, too, as you can stick it to the underside of your bike’s seat (where most potential thieves wouldn’t see it) so you can keep an eye on where your bike’s going if someone manages to snag it. Now, if you do go this route, you should also ensure your saddle is secured to your bike, because if the two were to get separated, you’d be out of luck and might end up only finding your seat.
Keep Playtime Fun
What childhood toy do you wish you’d never lost? For me, it was my old Street Sharks motorcycle figure, which I never got to pit against my other race cars and speedsters before it slipped away. Don’t put your kiddos through the pain of losing their favorite toy. With a bit of mounting tape, like these squares from Gorilla ($5 from Amazon), you can easily stick an AirTag to the toy your child insists accompany them on every outing and trip to the restroom. It’s even useful for finding missing toys around the house, since you can trigger an audio ping that’ll let you know where the toy’s hiding.
The best part? Once they’re sick of that toy and ready to move onto a new distraction, the mounting tape can be peeled away and replaced with a fresh adhesive, ready to track another playful trinket.
A Quick Note on Privacy
While Apple’s AirTags do provide a simple and efficient way to track down lost or stolen items, the potential for them to be abused can’t be ignored. As we noted in our review of Apple’s tracker, their small footprint and plain design make it easy to sneak onto an unsuspecting person’s gear for unwanted tracking. But even with harmless intent, like keeping an eye on your wandering pup, there's a risk of tracking someone without their knowledge if they’ve got a hold of something with one of your AirTags.
It may seem like you’re simply tracking your item, but if your partner were to borrow your water bottle for the day, or your friends were babysitting for the weekend while you’re away, that tracker becomes an all-seeing-eye for everywhere that person goes. While there’s no doubt about the potential for abuse, for those using AirTags responsibly there’s an easy solution: if you’re sticking an AirTag to something that might end up in someone else’s hands, just let them know about its presence or remove it ahead of time.
Fortunately, Apple’s heard these concerns, and is rolling out an update to AirTags that changes that duration from three days to between 8 and 24 hours to ping you when you have an unwanted AirTag nearby, according to CNET. The company also plans to release an Android app to help prevent tracking for those who don’t have an iOS device. We’ll test that once it becomes available later this year.