If you followed my journey with AirTags back in May, you’ll be aware that I had a troubled start with Apple’s tracking devices.
Due to inexplicably unreliable deliveries from Tim and co (I’m convinced they have something against my postcode), I had to rely on the product hunting abilities of my podcast co-host, Rob, to find an AirTag for launch day. This resulted in me obtaining five AirTags overall, once Apple had found my house a good four weeks later than they had originally promised.
If you’re yet to buy AirTags yourself, trust me – five AirTags is a lot of AirTags. So many, in fact, that’s it’s tricky to know what to do with them.
However, I have now finally deployed all five of my AirTags. So, today, I thought I’d reveal exactly what I’ve done with them. And I’ll answer the perennial question: would I recommend AirTags after a few weeks’ use?
How I’m using my AirTags
Before you ask – no, I didn’t attach one to the dog.
I considered creating some content around the practicalities of using an AirTag to track your pets. But, if I’m honest, I quickly tired of the idea, and it appears abundantly clear that Apple would rather you didn’t use them in this way. I’m pretty sure my dog, Eddie, wouldn’t be that keen, either, what with the incessant beeping he’d have to put up with if the AirTag ever became detached from my iPhone for too long.
So, what have I done with mine? Well, it’s a bit dull, I’m afraid.
The first was, inevitably, attached to my car keys. Which I’ve never once lost in my entire life.
I then placed AirTags in three of the items I regularly take out and about with me – the first being a Harber Nomad organiser, the second a Nayo Smart backpack, and the third a Mountain Warehouse backpack.
This left me with one last AirTag and seemingly no use for it.
See? Five AirTags is a lot of AirTags.
It’s worth bearing in mind that at this point, I had already significantly stretched the usefulness of AirTags. As noted, I never lose my car keys, and while it’s nice to know where my organiser and two backpacks are, I always know where they are, anyway – you can’t really miss them. Adding AirTags to the things in which I carry my stuff feels like I’m simply preparing for an inevitable swipe when I’m looking the other way in a coffee shop.
The fifth AirTag consequently remained within its packaging for a good three weeks before I did anything with it. I even asked my girlfriend if she wanted it.
“Do you want this last AirTag?” I asked. “I literally cannot think what to do with it.”
She thought for a moment.
“What would I do with it?” she asked.
“Well, you could, erm, attach it to your keys?” I offered.
“I never lose my keys, though,” she said.
“Is there anything else you could attach it to?” I asked. “Maybe your bag, or purse, perhaps?”
“What about the dog?”
I couldn’t give it away. So, I threw it into the phone holder on my bicycle, which means I can now double-check it’s still in the cycle park whenever I’m sat working in my favourite coffee shop. Alas, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do if I ever check its location and find that it’s eighteen miles from where I last left it.
See? My use of AirTags isn’t particularly exciting, is it? It’s also worth noting that, while writing this article, I had to go into the Find My app to remind myself of exactly what I’ve used them for.
AirTags are the most inconspicuous, forgettable product Apple has ever made.
Has Apple forgotten about AirTags?
There wasn’t a single mention of AirTags during WWDC this year, and the marketing effort for these little tracking discs has been conspicuous by its absence.
This begs the question: will we ever see an update or any meaningful iteration to the AirTags experience?
I don’t think we will. This isn’t only Apple’s most inconspicuous product, it’s the least exciting device they’ve ever made, too. I can’t think of another Apple product that is as ‘set and forget’ as AirTags.
More importantly, they feel somewhat off-kilter with Apple’s strategy. Apple wants every form of payment, ID or key to end up in the Wallet app and to be immediately accessible via contactless transactions instigated by either the iPhone or Apple Watch. They don’t want us to have a set of car keys or physical bank cards.
I appreciate this is tempting fate, but I can’t imagine losing anything to which I’ve attached my AirTags. At worst, they’ll get stolen, but as I noted during my initial AirTags review, I don’t think these are anti-theft devices; they’re purely for helping you find your stuff.
Apple got that right with AirTags. Their usefulness during a theft is questionable because most thieves will know how to locate and dismantle an AirTag by now. But as a device for finding your lost items, they perform brilliantly.
Apple can’t do anything more with AirTags. A redesign to include some form of built-in loop or hook would be nice, but the development investment simply wouldn’t make sense on their part. It’s also pretty clear that AirTags are very late to the party (many owners have noted the 2019 and 2020 copyrights on AirTags packaging), which suggests Apple may have shown more of an interest in them if regulatory challenges hadn’t delayed their release.
As a result, I’m pretty sure this is as far as AirTags are ever going to go.
Would I recommend AirTags?
Do you lose your keys?
If you answered “yes” to the above, I’d get an AirTag. However, if, like me, you’re seemingly blessed with the inability to lose stuff, they’re a waste of time.
This leads us to the conclusion that Apple has developed nothing more than a key finder. A really good and pretty key finder, granted, but a key finder – nothing more.
Or am I missing the point? Have you found an ingenious use for AirTags? Let me know in the comments.