Would you be willing to spend $40 to reduce your stress at the airport and to have more control in the event of lost luggage? If so, read this article!
I will document my experience tracking my two suitcases using Airtags between Montreal and Punta Cana during Spring Break 2023.
But before telling you about my experience, let's start by understanding how the Airtag works.
The Airtag is a small bluetooth device the size of a $2 that connects to your smart phone. Its main use is to locate the valuable object to which it is attached (keychain, satchel, suitcase, pet, etc.).
It is produced by Apple and only works with an Iphone or an Ipad. However, similar devices like the Galaxy SmartTag or the Tile Pro exist for Android devices.
Contrary to what one might think, the Airtag is not a GPS device. It emits a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by other nearby iPhones/Ipads which relay the signal to you. The data is encrypted throughout the process so as not to infringe on your privacy.
Thus, an Airtag lost in a remote forest is not traceable since there are no other iPhones/Ipads nearby to relay the signal. However, in the context of a trip to the airport, we can assume that your suitcase will sooner or later end up near an iPhone… which will relay the signal to you! You can then go to the Locate application (Find My) and view your Airtag on a map.
Additionally, when you're physically near your AirTag, it can beep to help you find it if you can't see it.
Only you can use and locate your AirTag.
After purchasing your first AirTag (about $40), you will need to connect it to your Icloud account, i.e. to your cell phone and/or your iPad. The instructions are very simple and easy to follow. You can follow this video produced by Apple to get connected in less than 5 minutes.
Give it a name, place it on the object you want to keep track of, and that's it.
Once they're connected, you'll receive updates on their location in the Find My app. Warning: you will never be able to see it move in real time. Updates are relayed when a signal is picked up and allow you to see its most recent position. Thus, there may be several minutes that pass between the different updates.
Several functions are offered:
I hid my AirTags in two different places in my luggage.
AirTag 1: In my clothes suitcase, shirt pocket.
AirTag 2: Concealed in my sports kitesurfing luggage.
Either way, I made sure to hide it away so it would be hard to find and throw away if stolen.
At the airport, my AirTags were still in my checked bags. But once I got to the hotel, I put one in my day backpack. Thus, I obtain additional protection so as not to lose my precious backpack.
For the purposes of the exercise, I regularly consulted the position of my suitcases at the airport. However, I must admit that the transmission delay is longer than I expected. It is therefore completely normal if our Airtag has not had an update for 20, 30, 40 minutes; the position will eventually show up sooner or later and you shouldn't stress about it.
Certainly, before I even got off the plane, I was able to see that my luggage followed. Happiness!
If I personally haven't had my luggage lost since I traveled with AirTags, here are some possible situations where it would be handy to have one.
Is it legal to put an AirTag in your suitcase?
Yes. The FAA allows equipment to trace a suitcase that has less than 0.3g of lithium. The AirTag contains 0.1g and is therefore accepted posing no security risk.
Is it possible to change the battery?
Yes. It should be changed about once a year. Your Find My app will notify you when your AirTag's battery is low.
Can I share my AirTag with someone else?
No. There can only be one user at a time. If you are traveling as a couple, there will therefore be a single Icloud account that can be responsible for the AirTag.
Can I lend my AirTag to someone else?
Yes. However, the person will have to reset it and you will no longer have access to it. When she gives it to you, you'll have to reset it yourself. Unless you offer that person the "service" of tracking the AirTag yourself during their trip.
Can the AirTag come into contact with water?
Yes, it's water resistant, but like any other tech tool, don't rely on it too much. It can spend a maximum of 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.
Should you put the AirTag in your suitcase, or outside of it like a luggage tag?
Some people get AirTag "cases" to attach to a dog's collar or their satchel. Personally, on a plane, I prefer to hide it inside my suitcase rather than putting it visible outside like a luggage tag. This assures me that it cannot be torn from my suitcase. Placing an AirTag inside a suitcase will never compromise its use.
Où acheter un AirTag?
Several stores like Bestbuy, Apple or on Amazon.
Text / Any reproduction is prohibited
Text: © François Boudrias 2023 / Caméléo DPC
Caméléo received no subsidy or financial contribution for the writing of this article. Before travelling, always check that your travel insurance includes good protection for your luggage. Under no circumstances does an AirTag or other tracking device replace travel insurance.