Apple’s new tech accessory designed specifically for forgetful types who want to keep track of their stuff – the AirTag – has been met with a whole lot of interest since it was introduced to the public.
One of the more popular questions surrounding AirTags, aside from safety, is: can I use one to track my pets?
The answer to that is: yes and no.
How tracking your pet with an AirTag would theoretically work
The thing with AirTags is that they use Precision Finding to locate nearby lost items, but there a few limitations with the feature.
If you own an iPhone model with the U1 chip (iPhone 11 onward), your phone will be able to offer you a bright green screen that will determine the distance and direction of your lost item – but this only works if the item is stationary.
The other roadblock here is that Precision Finding only works with items that are within Bluetooth range.
So, in order for you to use Precision Finding on your cat (or other pets), kitty would need to be stopped for a nap within range of your phone’s Bluetooth. Like I said, an AirTag will track your pet – in a way – but it won’t likely give you the experience you’re hoping for if your cat has gone for a long stroll (or if your dog is anything like mine, and often decides to dart off to one of the nearby parks).
If, instead, you want to check up on your pet’s whereabouts using the Find My network, you’ll get some information but again, probably not to the level you’re hoping. Attaching an AirTag to your pet’s collar will not result in a trackable blue dot that will update your fur baby’s location in real-time.
The way AirTag tracking works is that the device’s Bluetooth will be pinged by other devices from the Find My Network that pass it. So, if your cat is roaming around your suburb you will get updates on its location, but they will be periodic. What you’ll see is something like the below. Or a note that mentions kitty was last seen in X area 10 minutes ago.
If your pet has gone on an adventure in the middle of the night or has strolled off into an area where people (and their devices) rarely go, your updates will become more infrequent.
One bonus here is that if you were to attach an AirTag to a pet collar, these little discs are fairly durable – with water and dust resistance built-in (to a certain degree). So, I guess it’s good to know it probably (maybe) wouldn’t be destroyed along the way.
All in all, however, you’d probably be better placed buying a specially designed GPS tracker for your pet if that’s the service your after. Leave the AirTags for your keys and car (because car parks are confusing), I’d suggest.
If you’d like to try it out for yourself AirTags are available for purchase from the Apple store now in one and four-packs for $45 and $149, respectively.