After being the topic of discussion for months, either in staff meetings or with friends that use Apple devices, AirTags finally graced us with their presence. Apple showed them off last week, alongside the new iPads, new Mac looks and a couple of updates.
Starting at the price of $29 (and up to $99 for four of them), AirTags aren’t exactly expensive. Of course, they’re not something most of us need, to begin with, so Apple can’t really ask for much. However, they have an integrated speaker, IP67 protection and user-replaceable battery so they might deserve a second look.
Their main purpose is to help you find missing objects faster by associating a tag with an item you know you’re going to misplace. Those that have Apple devices with U1 chips won’t have to follow the warning sound too closely, anyway, since they will have something called Precision Finding. That feature means they can get guided directions towards the missing item – lucky, huh?
But what if you’re not tracking something but you are being tracked? A person can very well slip a tag in your backpack or bag to keep tabs on you. Turns out, Apple has thought of that and AirTags can play default sounds when they’re away from their owner and on the move. Alternatively, the iPhone of the person being tracked can sense the foreign AirTag and send a notification.
If you happen to find yourself in that position and stumble upon a “lost” AirTag you can disable it. Just tap the mini device with an NFC phone and you’ll get instructions on how to do it.
SmartTags vs AirTags: Scanning, a finicky solution
If you’re curious how SmartTags are preventing this type of tracking, let’s just say… Samsung’s solution requires a bit more work.
Nothing happens automatically – to know whether there’s a foreign tracker on any of your possessions, you’d need to have a Samsung phone, the SmartThings Find app and scan for it manually (a press of a button).
Even if you don’t like this idea very much, you might have to go along with it if you’re a Samsung user. If that’s the case, prepare to spend about $29.99 on one tag. Or, you can go for the Galaxy SmartTag Plus, which is $39.99. The difference? The updated tag has an ultra-wideband (UWB) radio, which means users can find it easier nearby than by only relying on the trusty ol’ Bluetooth.