Apple is advising against using its new AirTag personal item tracker for tracking kids and pets, saying tracking kids is safer with an Apple Watch set up for the Family Setup feature.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The AirTag isn’t designed to track people or pets.
  • To track kids, use Apple Watch with ‌Family Setup‌.
  • You can strap an AirTag to a pet, with a caveat.
  • AirTag is launching the next Friday, April 30.

A promotional image from Apple showing the back and front of the AirTag personal item tracker with a smiley emoji engraved

Apple AirTag isn’t for tracking kids and pets

Kaiann Drance, who is Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing, along with Kaiann Drance, Apple’s Senior Director of Sensing and Connectivity, sat down with Fast Company to discuss some aspects of the AirTag following Apple’s announcement.

On using the AirTag to track your kids:

When I asked Drance about parents using AirTags to track their small children (such as during an outing at an amusement park) or pets (we know you’re up to something shady, Fluffy) she was quick to stress that the company designed the AirTag to track items, not people or pets. If parents would like to safely track their young children, she suggests an Apple Watch with Family Setup might be a better choice.

And this on tracking pets with the AirTag:

As for strapping an AirTag to a pet, Drance says, ‘If people do that, they just have to make sure that their moving pet gets into range of a device in the Find My network’ so its location can be tracked.

What she means by that is that your moving pet must be in the range of any device that participates in the Find My network rather than in close proximity to one of your own devices.

How Apple’s Find My network works

According to the Find My Network section on the Apple Developer website, the Find My network takes advantage of hundreds of millions of Apple devices around the world to help you locate lost or misplaced items even if they’re not in the range of one of your devices or don’t have access to an active network connection.

The AirTag uses Bluetooth for proximity information and the Apple U1 chip with Ultra-Wideband technology for spatial awareness and Precision Finding, a feature that shows you the exact distance and direction to your AirTag in the Find My app on your iPhone, guiding you through a combination of sound, haptics and visual feedback.

Ultra-Wideband is available on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models in a handful of countries and regions that are listed in a support document on Apple’s website.

AirTag pricing and availability

You can order the AirTag beginning at 5am PDT on Friday, April 23 ahead of retail availability starting the next Friday, April 30. The accessory is available in one and four packs for $29 and $99, respectively, from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, at Apple Store locations and through the company’s Authorized Resellers and select carriers.