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AirTags have been flying off the shelves after Southwest canceled more than 13,000 flights over the holidays, leaving passengers stranded — sometimes for days at a time — and separated from their luggage.
The travel debacle ballooned into a travel nightmare that could cost Southwest upward of $800 million, and an unexpected sales win for Apple. Google searches for AirTags have spiked in the last few weeks and AirTags currently take up two spots on Amazon’s list of best-selling electronics.
AirTags have helped passengers find their bags when airlines either lost them or said they were at a different location. But they’re not only useful for travel.
AirTags are designed to help you keep a digital leash of sorts on personal belongings. That means you can use an AirTag to find or keep track of your wallet, a backpack, purse and other smaller items or something bigger like a car.
How does an AirTag work? It sends a secure, Bluetooth signal to iCloud that can be detected by nearby devices in Apple’s Find My network (the process is encrypted for added safety).
You’re the only one who can see the location of your AirTag, Apple doesn’t store your location or data history, and if an AirTag is near you without your knowledge, a notification will be sent to your iPhone.
Like other Apple devices, AirTag can also be placed in Lost Mode (a notification will be sent to your iPhone when the lost AirTag is located).
AirTags are compatible with iPhone (iPhone SE and iPhones 6s or later), iPad and Mac devices. They’re water- and dust-resistant and equipped with a replaceable, coin cell battery.
AirTag Alternatives for Android Users
Unfortunately, AirTags don’t work for Android, but there are alternative GPS tracking devices for Android users that cost around the same price as an AirTag, such as Tile Mate, LandAirSea and Samsung Galaxy Smart Tag.
Samsung’s Smart Tag finds items within 130 yards of the Galaxy Find My network and can only be used with Galaxy phones running Android 8.0 or higher (RAM 2.0GB+). The SmartThings app is required for use.
Tile has a Bluetooth range of up to 250 feet and is compatible with iOS and Android. It works with Amazon Alexa, Hey Google and Siri (download the free Tile app to get started). LandAirSea works for both Apple and Android and an app is required for use.
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