Tech

Is the Apple AirTag Worth It? Here's How It Works

Plus, alternative tracker brands if the AirTag just isn’t your cup of tea.
IMAGE APPLE
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Have you ever wished Apple’s Find My app could track stuff other than your electronic devices? Well, Apple has just granted your wish with the AirTag. All you have to do is place this nifty device next to your phone to sync it to Find My, then attach it to things you might misplace such as your wallet, keys, or bag. We personally would leave it in our car to remember where we parked.

When you’re struggling to remember where you left your keys, all you need to do is get Find My to play a sound on the AirTag. If you’re using an iPhone 11 or 12 and the lost item is within 30 feet, you can also use Precision Finding to locate the item. This feature guides you towards the lost object with an arrow that tells you where to go and indicates how many feet away the item is. 

When your missing possession is out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help you locate it. Set the AirTag to Lost Mode and other nearby iPhones with iOS 14.5 or later can mark its latest location. You can enter your phone number and a message for people who find your AirTag too. Good Samaritans can scan the AirTag whether they’re using an iPhone or Android and see your message and contact info.

Photo by Apple.
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At the same time, Apple has taken stringent measures to protect users’ privacy—your location data is never physically stored in the AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted so that only you have access to its location data. Even Apple can’t identify where your AirTag is or see who helped find it.

Perhaps the most unique thing about the AirTag is its anti-stalker feature. Let’s say someone slips their AirTag into your bag to track you—your iPhone will notice the strange AirTag and alert you. You can then disable the AirTag with your phone. Android users are protected as well: an AirTag separated from its owner for an extended period of time will play a sound when moved to draw attention to itself. As long as your Android phone is NFC-capable, you can use it to disable the AirTag too. No need to worry that all your AirTags will be beeping when you’re in the car with your family—this feature only activates if your AirTag is far away from your iPhone.

Nevertheless, we thought this wouldn’t be great if your bag has been stolen. After all, the thief can simply disable the tag and make their getaway. However, according to PetaPixel the AirTag won’t alert the thief of its presence until the thief gets “home.” The “home” location is determined by their phone’s address book. So you can still track the thief while they’re on the move, and you’ll still be able to see the AirTag’s last location before it gets disabled.

If you order the AirTag from Apple.com, you can get it engraved with text or a choice of 31 emoji for free. If you’re feeling fancy, you can get the Hermès AirTag which is custom-engraved with the brand’s iconic Clou de Selle signature and comes with an assortment of handcrafted leather accessories including the Bag Charm, Key Ring, Travel Tag, and Luggage Tag.

While the AirTag is a pretty exciting device, it does come with a rather hefty price tag. You can get a single AirTag for P1,690 or a 4-pack for P5,790. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Apple product if they didn’t somehow force you to buy Apple accessories along with the main product. If you want to attach the AirTag to your keys or any other item you can’t slip it into, you’ll have to buy the Leather Key Ring for P2,090, the Leather Loop for P2,390, or the AirTag Loop for P1,790.

If the thought of spending at least P3,480 for an AirTag and strap gives you pause, there are plenty of other trackers on the market. We’ve compiled a list of alternatives so you can find the right tracker for you.

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Tile Mate

Photo by Tile.

Tile is Apple’s main competitor when it comes to trackers in the US. Their trackers come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges for various items. While the AirTag might be a little too thick to fit into your slim wallet, a Tile Slim certainly would.

For this article, we picked the Tile Mate. Unlike the AirTag, the Tile Mate has a little hole so you can attach it to your keychain or any strap without having to make additional purchases. Although, you can opt to buy Tile-compatible adhesives if you’d prefer to stick your Tile directly onto an object.

You can make the Tile play a ringing sound to find your lost item as long as it’s within Bluetooth range. At the same time, you can use the Tile to find your phone by double-pressing its logo. It will then make your phone ring even if it’s on silent, as long as the Tile app is open. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask your smart speaker to help you activate your Tile.

If your Tile is out of Bluetooth range, you can use the app to view its most recent location with the help of the Tile Community. This means other phones with the Tile app running will send location updates while keeping all location data encrypted. Of course, we aren’t sure how many people in the Philippines are using Tile products. That said, even with Amazon shipping included, the Tile is a somewhat cheaper alternative to the AirTag with most of the same features.

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App: Tile
Bluetooth Range: 200 ft
Battery: Replaceable
Available on: Amazon
Pricing: $23.99 for 1-pack, $47.99 for 2-pack, $62 for 4-pack, $61.99 for Essentials Bundle

Baseus Intelligent T3 Rechargeable Anti-Loss Tracker

Photo by Baseus.

If the idea of paying for Amazon shipping doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of trackers available on Lazada such as the Baseus Intelligent T3. Unlike the Tile and Airtag, the T3 already comes with a strap, making it a very practical alternative.

You might hesitate to attach an AirTag or Tile to your pet given the hefty price tag. In comparison, the T3’s reasonable cost and two-way alarm make it ideal for making sure your furry friend never gets lost. Both your T3 and phone will let you know if they are more than 80 meters away from each other. You have three choices of ringtone: default, electronic, and clear.

Of course, the two-way alarm can be a pain if you leave your keys by the front door then go upstairs. You can prevent your devices from unnecessarily ringing by setting “do not disturb” areas and times on the Baseus Smart App. If the tracker is out of Bluetooth range, you can check its most recent location using the app as well. Can’t find your phone? Double-click the T3 to make it ring.

The app also lets you know when it’s nearly time to recharge your tracker—it lasts about 3 months if used 15 times a day. Unless you have short-term memory loss, we doubt you’ll be using it that often.

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App: Baseus Smart
Bluetooth Range: 262 ft in open space, 98 ft in empty indoor space, 32 ft indoors with furniture
Battery: Rechargeable
Available on: Lazada
Pricing: P60 

Bogi iTrack Motion

Photo by iTrack Motion.

Apart from the usual features like ringing lost items, clicking the device to find your phone, two-way alarms, and recording the last known location, the iTrack Motion also has an anti-theft feature. If you set it on Function Motion Alert, it will alarm if someone tries to move it so much as 10 mm. You can use it as a selfie remote as well. When you’re trying to find items within Bluetooth range, the app shows you whether you’re “warm” or “cold” using green circles. If you’re planning to give this tracker as a gift, you can ask the seller to personalize it too.

App: iTrack Easy
Bluetooth Range: 50-80 ft outdoors, 32-50 ft indoors
Battery: Replaceable
Available on: Lazada
Pricing: P950

Uonevic Mini Intelligent Anti-Loss Alarm Tracker

Photo by Uonevic.
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This tracker was the cheapest model we could find that still had good reviews. Even with its low price, it includes all the features you’d expect of a tracker. You can use your phone to make it beep when you’re trying to find it, and its two-way alarm sets off when the tracker is out of Bluetooth range. The app records the tracker’s last known location before it disconnected, and you can use the tracker as a selfie remote too.

App: LEXER
Bluetooth Range: 164 ft outdoors, 98 ft indoors
Battery: Replaceable
Available on: Lazada
Pricing: P210

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Angelica Gutierrez
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