The Apple AirTag is one of the latest releases from Apple. You attach a device to important items to keep track of them. They can be placed on valuable items like vehicles, but they can also be placed in your children’s backpacks. They are reliable, have long battery life, and can be used conveniently for dozens of other uses.
Researching Apple Airtags? You can check out the full Airtag category, but certainly bookmark these other articles for future reading: Are Airtags waterproof? Can An AirTag’s Location Be Shared? and Are Apple AirTags TSA Approved?
How Far Will Apple AirTags Reach?
The AirTags’ initial setup uses Bluetooth to initialize, so you’ll need to be within about 35 feet. Once setup is complete, there is no maximum distance away your Airtags can be and still function. AirTags work using GPS, same as the “Find my iPhone” feature, to give an accurate location readout.
Bluetooth isn’t designed to be a long-distance method of pairing. In fact, depending on the quality of the device, Bluetooth can only reach between 30 and 40 feet. Apple has officially stated that the AirTag will maintain a connection with an iPhone at a distance of about 33 feet, but this number isn’t set in stone. Bluetooth signal can be deteriorated due to the effects an environment has. Walls, foliage, and other obstructions will lessen the reach that Bluetooth has.
Luckily, Bluetooth is only required for initial setup of an AirTag. Once setup is complete, the AirTag relies on GPS technology to broadcast its location. Users can log in to the “Find my iPhone” website to find out exactly where their AirTag is, no matter how far away it is.
What is the Range of Apple AirTags
Apple AirTags have no defined range because they don’t use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to function; they use cell phone towers and GPS tracking. The AirTag doesn’t have a defined range to function, but it does require a connection to a mobile tower.
This means that if your AirTag has been moved to a cellular dead zone, then you won’t be able to track it. If your AirTag isn’t showing up on the “Find my iPhone” webpage, rather than meaning it’s out of range, it means it doesn’t have a stable connection to a cell tower. Again, it’s not a matter of how far away Apple tags will work, it’s a matter of whether or not the tag is able to communicate with cell phone towers or not.
AirTags require your cellular device or tablet to be running on iOS 14.5 or later. The AirTags cannot communicate with devices on older software.
Follow these steps to update the iOS on your device:
- The device must be plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi to update
- Navigate to the Settings app
- Now click General
- Find Software Update and click it
- Click the Download and Install button at the bottom to update
- The phone will download the update and restart
You should be able to successfully initialize your AirTag after completing the iOS update.
If you have an iPhone older than the iPhone 6s, then you won’t be able to use iOS 14, meaning your device isn’t compatible with AirTags.
Why Can’t I Find my AirTag?
There are a few common error messages that show up when you are trying to find your AirTag. The most common problem is “Cannot Connect to AirTag – Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, and your AirTag is in range.” This usually means that your AirTag has not undergone initial setup, and you’ll have to activate it before it can be found on the Find my iPhone page.
Otherwise, you might simply be looking in the wrong location. The Find my iPhone page display your phone by default. AirTags are actually found under the Items tab. If you’re looking under the correct tab and the AirTag is still not showing up, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the problem.
The first thing you should do is update your device. A software compatibility issue might be preventing you from using the AirTag. Just follow the instructions above to update your phone’s iOS version.
Alternatively, you can try using another device, such as Windows PC or Mac. If you can’t view the AirTag on any of your devices, then chances are, the problem is with your AirTag rather than the device you’re trying to find it with.
Resetting your AirTag will typically correct any errors. Follow these steps to reset your tag:
- Hold down the battery cover on the AirTag and rotate it counterclockwise all the way
- Remove the cover and take out the battery
- Put the battery back in, and the device will make a sound
- Repeat this step 3 more times, listening for the sound each time
- Put the cover back on and rotate it clockwise until it is secure
- Your AirTag is now reset
- You’ll have to pair it with your iPhone and complete the initial setup again
Setting up an AirTag with your iPhone is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Hold the AirTag near your iOS device
- The phone or tablet will automatically recognize it and ask if you want to connect
- Click Connect
- Onscreen instructions will walk you through the process
- After you have added the AirTag to your Apple ID click finish
This is only possible if you have your AirTag with you when it’s not working. Unfortunately, you can do nothing if the AirTag is lost and not showing up on the Find my iPhone app. The only thing you can do is keep checking on a regular basis. Chances are, the AirTag is out of signal range, and it can’t be located. If you keep refreshing the app, it will eventually move back into a service area. You’ll be able to track the device once this happens.