Maybe you have noticed Apple AirTags in later-day headlines — as there are new Apple products — but these small tracking discs are the latest in a long line of options for storing tabs if where your phones, tablets, and laptops are.
The location tracking features built into our devices are valid privacy concerns, and the more advanced they get, the more trouble they have (see this piece how Apple AirTags can be a gift to those who hang out and harass) but they also mean that our expensive equipment can report back to their location around the clock – making it even harder to lose something.
With AirTags-and Galaxy SmartTags, Tile trackers, and all other similar products-this type of location monitoring can be reached on all sorts of things, from bags to essentials. chains. Even if someone does not report its location, it can be attached to a device already.
If you are determined to always know where your most valuable things are, you have more options than ever before.
Let’s start with Apple, because it just launched AirTags. These little trackers work on Find My app which you’ll find preinstalled on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. It can also be used by iCloud portal, so you can access it through any computer with a web browser.
Most modern Apple products can report their location via Find My – not just phones and laptops but also AirPods and the Apple Watch. The Apple Pencil can’t be found through this app, but as far as Apple devices go, it’s in the minority. To make sure your devices are tracked, tap your name right away Find Mine in Settings on an iPhone or iPad, or select Safety and Privacy and Policy in System Preferences on a Mac.
You’ll see your devices on a map when you launch Find My, and you’ll see details including how they’re left to charge the battery, where relevant. Choose a device and you can erase it remotely, lock it to protect against unauthorized access, or remove it to make a sound (very easy if you fall behind the couch).
AirTags work a little differently. They do not directly report their location, but communicate using short-range connections to your other devices (via Bluetooth and more accurately Ultra-Wideband). As long as they’re nearby (Apple doesn’t give an exact range), they can be found via the Find My app on your devices.