The AirTag is really small. It’s roughly the size of a large coin or a coat button. It has a white polycarbonate body and a polished metal cover etched with the Apple logo. You can customise your AirTag with engravings on the polycarbonate body. Also, Apple says AirTags have a dust and water resistance rating of IP67 so they can withstand spills and splashes and being submerged in up to a metre of water for up to 30 minutes.
The metal cover is highly polished and it can be easily popped off to reveal the user-replaceable battery within – unusual, I know, for an Apple product. It uses a CR2032 battery which can be easily purchased from any supermarket, general store, or hardware store. Apple claims over a year of battery life with “everyday use”. Obviously, I can’t test that claim. What I can tell you, however, is that the Find My app still shows full battery even after a week of playing around with it.
It’s hard to complain about the size of the AirTag. Its compact size means it will slip into bags easily and won’t cause too much of a hindrance when you attach it to things. But therein lies one of its problems. Because it literally looks like a large coin/button and there’s no hole on it, there’s no way to attach anything to it without purchasing a separate AirTag accessory – now that’s very Apple.
Happily, Apple can aid you with its range of AirTag accessories which includes keyrings and loops. And if you are feeling really fancy, Hermès does too. The quality of Apple’s accessories are alright but I would probably shop around for cheaper options – Apple’s Leather Key Ring and Leather Loop cost more than the AirTag itself.
Another thing I noticed with the AirTag is that it develops marks easily. The polished metal cover is an absolute scratch magnet and the white plastic part is prone to scuffs too. It reminds me of the plastics used in those very early iPods. Embrace the wabi-sabi.
How does it work?
Setting AirTags up is a cinch. Like AirPods, you simply bring them next to your iPhone and a prompt will appear asking if you would like to connect them. Answer to the affirmative and you will be asked to name the AirTags and voila. That’s it. You’ll now see the AirTag appear as a new “Item” in the Find My app.
Inside each AirTag is a Bluetooth Low Energy radio and a U1 ultra-wideband (UWB) chip. When you are close enough, Bluetooth will let you ping the AirTag using the Find My app. The tag will then emit a series of high-pitch chirps you help you locate them. It’s surprisingly loud considering how small it is and the fact that it doesn’t have a proper speaker (it uses the polycarbonate cover to produce sound). However, as I noted in my first looks article, the chirps don’t play for long (presumably an effort to conserve battery), so unless you have really sharp hearing, you might need to activate it a couple of times before you can find your AirTag.