How to correctly tap AirTag with iPhone to read its embedded NFC tag

Should you stumble upon someone’s lost item with an AirTag attached, tap the AirTag to your iPhone to read the underlying NFC tag and reveal the owner’s contact information.

What to do if you find a lost AirTag

Unveiled Apple’s “Spring Loaded” special event held on April 20, 2021, AirTag is a personal item tracker that you can attach to personal belongings like backpacks and key rings to help you find lost items. The accessory leverages Apple’s vast Find My network and takes advantage of a feature called Precision Finding for precise micro-location discoverability.

An image showing the white side of an Apple AirTag held to the top of an iPhone 12 with Safari's Found notification displayed on the screen

If you find an item with an AirTag attached, Apple permits you to reveal the owner’s Lost Mode message and contact information so you could reach out about returning the lost item.

How to read AirTag’s embedded NFC

To read the embedded NFC tag, you must correct;y tap the right side of your AirTag to your iPhone or Android handset. According to both a support document published on the Apple website and a video (found right ahead) from the company’s support team, you must tap the white side of your AirTag to the top center of the back of your iPhone.

When done properly, a Safari notification banner will appear at the top of your iPhone’s screen.

Hitting the notification takes you to a special website that provides information about the AirTag, including its serial number along with the owner’s contact information (which only appears if they set the AirTag to Lost Mode).

How to contact the AirTag owner

Using this information, you can contact AirTag’s owner to let them know you’ve found their lost item. But your tapping must be precise—touching the other side of the item tracker to your phone or tapping the AirTag to the bottom of the phone will not read the NFC tag.

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This isn’t limited to iPhones—any Android handset with NFC can read the embedded tag by tapping and holding the top of the NFC-capable smartphone to the white side of the AirTag.