Chapter 1

AirTag: how does it work?

Losing an object can be an anxiety-inducing experience, but Apple's AirTag promises to offer a technological solution to this problem. How does the AirTag work? In this article, we'll explore the mechanics behind Apple's AirTag and how it compares to specialized GPS trackers for pets, particularly those offered by Weenect.


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AirTag in practice: setup and daily use

An AirTag next to an iPhone on the Find My application

Configuring and using an AirTag

Understanding the AirTag's functionality begins with its setup. Associating an AirTag with your iPhone or iPad is straightforward. Once the AirTag is out of its packaging, place it near your iOS device. An interface will automatically appear, guiding the user through the pairing process, including connecting to their iCloud account and assigning a name and icon to represent the object to track. Once configured, the AirTag uses Apple's U1 chip for seamless integration with the iOS ecosystem.

Daily use of the AirTag

In daily use, the AirTag operates in the background, allowing users to locate misplaced objects through the "Find My" app. However, for items outside of immediate range, the precision of tracking heavily depends on the presence of other Apple devices nearby that can relay the signal.

The innovative functionality of Apple's AirTag

An iPhone that detects the AirTag next to it

The key role of Bluetooth low energy

The functionality of the AirTag heavily relies on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which is essential for devices that need to remain active continuously. BLE facilitates wireless communication within a 30 feet radius, connecting the AirTag to any nearby Apple device. This communication allows the AirTag to maintain an extended battery life.

The U1 Chip and "Precision Finding"

The U1 chip sets the AirTag apart with Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology, offering highly precise location tracking, known as "Precision Finding." This feature not only detects the presence of a nearby lost object but also guides the user to it with detailed directional instructions, enhancing the overall experience.

“Find My" network and crowd GPS Technology

Understanding the “Find My" network

The "Find My" network plays a crucial role in the AirTag's functionality. When an AirTag is out of immediate range from its owner, it can still be tracked thanks to millions of Apple devices forming the network. These devices relay the AirTag's Bluetooth signal to iCloud, allowing the owner to track the lost item via the "Find My" app. This crowd GPS technology provides continuous tracking and peace of mind for Apple users.

Limitations of the “Find My" network for animals

The "Find My" network, although effective in urban areas, has significant limitations in rural or less-populated regions. In such areas, fewer iOS devices are available, reducing the effective tracking range, particularly for lost pets that can move quickly over long distances. Additionally, the AirTag's small size (11 grams) poses a risk of accidental ingestion by animals, which has led to reported veterinary interventions.

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AirTag and alerts: peace of mind

An iPhone that detects AirTag to track the car next to it

Proximity alerts

The AirTag's alerts are crucial for both security and privacy. Whenever an AirTag stays near a user for an extended period but is separated from its owner, an alert is automatically generated to prevent unauthorized tracking. For instance, if an AirTag is unknowingly placed in your bag, your iPhone detects it and notifies you, providing an extra layer of protection.

Family sharing functionality

The Family Sharing feature allows you to share an AirTag's location with others via the "Find My" app. Up to five additional users can be added, given they meet specific conditions: two-factor authentication must be enabled, each user must have an Apple ID and be signed in to iCloud, and iCloud Keychain must be enabled. This sharing can be managed within the app, allowing the owner to add or remove users as needed.


Apple's AirTag is an effective tool for finding objects, with its innovative tracking system simplifying the process of locating lost items. Despite its seamless setup and integration within the iOS ecosystem, its functionality is limited for tracking pets, making specialized GPS trackers a better option for real-time tracking without distance limits. These trackers provide unparalleled peace of mind for pet owners, ensuring the safety and well-being of their pets.

Read more about our guide

This article is part of a complete guide on the subject. Don't miss the other chapters.

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