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This Apple AirTag hack will make your holiday travel much more stress-free

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

How Apple AirTag can find your luggage even when the airline can't

You do not have to be a frequent flyer to experience the frustration of lost luggage. In fact, it can be even more upsetting if you only fly occasionally. This is because you might not know the best way to expedite finding your misplaced (or stolen) personal items, such as a suitcase or a backpack.

The AirTag Apple designed is a quick and easy way to reduce stress and gain peace of mind when flying. It is a tiny disk that uses Bluetooth technology as well as Apple's Find My network to keep track of your luggage, even when the airline can't. This article covers everything you need to know to take advantage of this handy travel hack.

Shop this article: Apple AirTag, Tile Pro (2022) and Apple AirTag Leather Key Ring, Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker.

What is an Apple AirTag?

An Apple AirTag is a tiny tracking device that is 1.26 inches in diameter and a little over one-quarter of an inch thick. The AirTag only weighs 0.39 ounces. You may be wondering, are Apple AirTags waterproof? Yes, for up to 30 minutes in water that is less than 3 feet deep. The AirTag has a built-in speaker and Bluetooth technology that is powered by a common CR2032 coin cell battery. It is only reliable when the ambient temperature is between −4 and 140 degrees.

How do Apple AirTags work?

There are actually two ways an Apple AirTag works. How it functions depends on how close it is to your Apple device.

Within 30 feet

The Apple AirTag range via Bluetooth is roughly 30 feet. When an AirTag is within this range, it communicates directly to your Apple device. You can locate it either by triggering an audible ping or by using Precision Finding to be directed to your AirTag.

Over 30 feet

This is where the magic of Apple's Find My network kicks in. Whenever your AirTag is over 30 feet away, it can anonymously connect to any Apple device that gets within 30 feet of the AirTag. The nearby Apple device is then anonymously used to notify you that your AirTag has been located. It is important to realize that this is just a general location, and it is only effective if the object you are tracking is relatively stationary. It also only works if someone with an Apple device gets within 30 feet of your lost item. 

Why is an Apple AirTag helpful when flying?

An AirTag is not beneficial in every situation. For instance, if you put one on your pet and received a notification when it ran away, the pet probably would have moved on by the time you got to the location. Alternatively, if you dropped your keys in the wilderness, you wouldn't receive a ping unless someone with an Apple device got within 30 feet of the lost item.

However, when it comes to traveling, an AirTag is an excellent way to keep track of your luggage. First, unless your suitcase is on a conveyor belt or a transportation vehicle, it won't be moving. This means the location will be accurate. You can quickly see if your luggage is where you left it or if it actually made it onto the plane before takeoff.

Second, an airport is a busy place. Passengers and workers are available in abundance. If any of these individuals have an iPhone or an iPad, they can serve as your personal bloodhound. All it takes is someone strolling by your luggage, and you'll get a notification alerting you where your personal items are.

Are Apple AirTags TSA-approved?

The current regulation issued by the FAA mandates that luggage tracking devices that are powered by lithium metal cells must have 0.3 grams or less of lithium to be used on bags that passengers check. An Apple AirTag is powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery. These batteries only have 0.1 grams of lithium, so they fall below the threshold and are suitable for tracking luggage on airplanes.

How to set up Apple AirTag

One thing Apple paid a great deal of attention to was making sure its AirTags were easy to use. To set up an AirTag, simply remove the protective plastic strip from the AirTag while your iPhone or iPad is nearby. The Apple device automatically detects the AirTag and navigates to the setup screen. Follow the directions, and in a few quick clicks, you have a uniquely named AirTag that is ready to go. 

Another benefit of an Apple AirTag

An Apple AirTag also functions as an ID tag. If someone finds one, they can scan it with any device that has near-field communication technology (this includes Android phones) and receive information  — if you have provided it — on how to contact you.

Apple AirTags and accessories

Apple AirTag

If you'd like to give the Apple AirTag a try, this is the best way. It comes with one device. You can set it up, test it and see if it relieves travel stress for you as it does for so many other people.

Apple AirTag Four-Pack

If you are already certain the Apple AirTag is right for you or you have more than one item you need to track, this Apple AirTag 4 pack is a money-saving way to buy.

Apple AirTag Leather Loop

This classy leather loop securely holds your AirTag while adding a touch of elegance. Wrap the loop around whatever you'd like to tag and snap the device in place. This accessory comes in Baltic blue, California poppy, red, forest green, saddle brown and Meyer lemon.

Apple AirTag Leather Key Ring

If you prefer to tag your keys, this Apple AirTag keychain is the way to go. It is a shorter version of the leather loop and comes attached to a stainless steel key ring. It is available in wisteria, red, forest green, midnight, saddle brown and golden brown.

Apple AirTag Loop

The loop is a more affordable way to attach your AirTag. The Apple AirTag holder is made from polyurethane and comes in a variety of colors.

Hawanik Slim Minimalist Front Pocket Wallet with Built-in Case Holder for AirTag

This Apple AirTag wallet is as multifunctional as it is budget-friendly, capable of accommodating an ID card, five credit cards and six folded bank notes. The minimalist wallet is made of sleek PU leather and comes in 11 colors. 



Tile Pro (2022)

If you prefer a model that is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, the Tile Pro is a possibility. Unfortunately, once something is out of range, you can only get a "last known location" message, so it cannot be used to track items that may change location, such as luggage on a plane.  

Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker

For people who want to track pets, the AirTag is not a suitable option. Instead, get a device that is specifically designed for the task, such as this dog tracker. It allows you to follow your pet in real time.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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