The precise search of objects is certainly one of the coolest features of Apple’s new AirTags. That’s because this item tracker allows you to locate keychains, wallets, or other connected items with pinpoint accuracy. To do this, Apple combines information from the camera, motion sensor, and ultra-wideband technology, among other things.
To make use of ultra-wideband, you will first need an iPhone with a U1 chip. Apple only incorporates this chip from the iPhone 11 onwards. So if your iPhone isn’t listed in the table as seen above, the AirTags are a bit less practical (albeit still useful). Still, they can be worth picking up, and that’s exactly why I’ve summarized the feature set for a U1-less iPhone.
This is how practical the AirTags are without the U1 chip
Tracking via the “Where is?” app
As Fabien wrote in his AirTags review, the one big advantage of this tracker is that you can hunt down lost items. For this purpose, Apple has integrated the new accessory into the “Where is?” app, where it will permanently search for the AirTag’s contact with other iPhones or other compatible Apple hardware.
So if your key fell out of your pocket by accident when you stood up at a park bench, there’s a good chance someone else with an iPhone will walk by. The AirTag will then transmit a location of which can then obtain via your PC or iPhone.
Precise location via sound
Once you have arrived at the location or should the keys be hiding somewhere in the deep recesses of the sofa, you can use another tool to obtain the item’s precise location. Inside the AirTags lie a small loudspeaker, which is able to emit sound if the situation calls for it. This allows you to hear where the lost object is.
NextPit Apple AirTag 13
The exact tracking only works with the U1 chip – the sound feature is quite a cool alternative though / © NextPit
By the way, this speaker also emits a sound when the AirTag is on the move and your iPhone is not nearby. This is Apple’s way of preventing the AirTag from being used to track people covertly.
Digital dog tag thanks to NFC
Another benefit of the AirTag is that both iPhones and Android smartphones can read data from the AirTags’ NFC chip. Apple has integrated this feature to make it easier to send contact information whenever an item is lost.
What is NFC?
If you, as an Android user, find a bunch of keys with an AirTag, all you have to do is hold your smartphone over it – provided it supports NFC, of course – and read the information shown via a corresponding app. If everything goes as expected, you will now know whom to contact in order to return the key.
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