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How do Apple AirTags work?

These are more than your average locator device.

Apple airtags tracker held in fingers
Image: Apple

Apple revealed the AirTag back at its 2021 Spring Loaded event, and as we can see, the company has definitely put some effort into these things.

More than just a simple location device, the $29 AirTag utilizes several technologies to make finding a tagged item as easy as possible.

Apple’s AirTags are designed to be attached to your keys, luggage, briefcase, or anything else you don’t want to lose.

They launched alongside a few accessories, like keychains and luggage clips, that allow you to keep up with your things in style. But the coolest aspect of the AirTags might just be how they work.

Image: KnowTechie

The AirTags are fully integrated into the Apple Find My app. They utilize a few different technologies to locate your precious items.

Firstly, the chip inside of the AirTags uses a 6-8.5GHz frequency to transmit a signal to the Find My app over a relatively short range.

This frequency allows the system to precisely pinpoint the location of a device, making this location service more exact than other, Bluetooth locators.

READ MORE: Android may soon notify users when nearby AirTags are detected

Apple also utilizes Bluetooth locating on its AirTags, but there is also an answer for finding things outside of the Bluetooth range.

When you can’t find your device using the U1 chip or Bluetooth, you can use the Find My app to see the AirTags’ last known location on Apple Maps.

From there, you can narrow down the location using the chip inside the AirTags.

AirTags can do all of this while maintaining your privacy

Maybe the coolest thing about all of this functionality is that everything is encrypted, and your privacy is protected.

When tracking an item through Apple Maps, all information is end-to-end encrypted and completely safe. This means you can be sure that whatever item you have tagged is not being tracked by anyone else.

Because this data is end-to-end encrypted, this allows for some additional features. For example, other iPhone users can ping the location of an unknown AirTag back to that tag’s owner.

Using this technology, you might be able to find something before you even realize you lost it.

Android airtags app
Image: KnowTechie

Additionally, Apple said that the Bluetooth frequencies of the AirTags will be changed around, making them undiscoverable by anyone other than you.

This is extremely important because, without it, anyone could track any AirTags, making them the perfect target for theft.

READ MORE: How to locate and disable an unknown AirTag on Android and iOS

AirTags are a great tracking option for your stuff

AirTags are a very cool addition to the Apple lineup. There are other trackers out there, but there hasn’t been anything that comes close to the functionality that the AirTags bring to the table.

The ability to track both long-range and short-range is incredible and will help the AirTags stand out from their competition. Sorry, Tile.

That, coupled with the extra privacy measures taken, make these a must-have for Apple fans.

Now that you know how Apple’s AirTags work, you’re probably interested in buying some. So, where can you purchase them?

Thankfully, you have a ton of options. You can buy them directly from Apple, but they are also available at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. Again, you have plenty of choices to choose from.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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