Apple’s AirTags are now official and they look poised to be very popular – and pretty lucrative for the iPhone-maker. But how long do AirTags last?
Apple’s AirTags are small, Bluetooth-powered objects that, when activated, will connect to Apple’s Find My app, so you can use them to find things – your car keys, your cat, your car. All kinds of things, really.
And iOS 14.5 has core updates related to AirTags too.
Priced aggressively, you can pick one up for $29 and three for $99, Apple’s AirTags go into direct competition with Tile, a similar product. However, the difference with AirTags, save for the fact they integrate with the Find My app, is that Apple has made the Bluetooth connection more secure.
Bluetooth is laughably insecure; this is one of the biggest issues with current tracker tags like Tile. By adding in a separate chip to manage encryption on its AirTags, Apple has solved one of the biggest potential security risks associated with using these types of gizmos.
AirTags Battery Life – How Long Does Each AirTag Last?
Apple’s AirTags run on a removable CR2032 battery. Yes, I said removable! This means you can switch out the dead battery once it has died. All you need to do is buy a pack of CR2032 batteries – these are very inexpensive too.
How long do CR2032 batteries last? According to Apple, a single AirTag has a battery life of one year. This means, should you buy a few AirTags, you’ll only need a single pack of spare CR2032 batteries to run them for 12 months straight.
The fact that Apple allows users to swap out the battery is also very surprising; Apple usually doesn’t allow this kind of thing. Usually, it would just force you to buy a new product to replace the old one. I guess Apple is starting to think more about the environment and waste.
How Accurate Are AirTags?
With respect to accuracy, once you have an AirTag setup and attached to something, if you lose it, you will be able to track it to within one foot of its exact location. If you’re looking for keys or a lost pet, this is super handy.
Ditto if you’re trying to find your car in a massive public carpark.
Everything runs through the Find My app on your iPhone. We have a full guide on how to use Apple’s Find My app, as well as a detailed breakdown of all the things you’ll be able to do with AirTags, so check them out for more details.
Here’s how to set up an AirTag!
AirTags Accessories – Apple’s New Money Maker
AirTags are relatively inexpensive. They’re also probably VERY cheap to make as well which means Apple will make a healthy profit margin on every single one it sells.
However, the BIG BUCKS will be generated by AirTags accessories – the things you holster the actual AirTag in. As of right now, Apple sells a bunch of these things and they range in price from $13 for an AirTag holder to $449 for a Hermès luggage tag.
As AirTags become more popular, expect to see more and more premium, designer brands coming out with AirTags holders.
Whatever AirTag accessory you end up going for, it will almost certainly cost more than the actual AirTag itself. And once the designer labels start making holders for AirTags, like Hermès, it’ll be silly season with AirTags accessory pricing.
AirTags Battery Life vs Tile – Which is Better?
Apple’s main competition in this product niche is Tile. I don’t think Tile will give Apple too much trouble. Apple has a track-record of entering product niches late and then destroying everybody – just look at what it did with AirPods.
Still, it is worth taking into consideration how Tile’s most popular products compare to Apple’s AirTags. Unlike Apple, Tile makes a few different trackers, trackers that have different shapes and different size batteries.
AirTags vs Tile (Battery Life Stats)
|SPECS||Apple AirTags ($29)||Tile Pro ($35)||Tile Sticker ($25)|
|Size||31.9mm x 8mm||42mm x 42mm x 6.5mm||27mm x 7.3mm|
|Connection||Bluetooth, NFC, Apple U1||Bluetooth||Bluetooth|
|Battery Type||CR2032 (12 Months)||CR2032 (12 Months)||Not replaceable (3 Years)|
As you can see, Apple’s AirTags compare pretty favorably to Tile’s two most popular products – the Tile Pro and Tile Sticker.
The Tile Sticker does last three times as long, with a battery life of three years, but it does not feature a removable battery, so once its battery dies the product is useless.
With price, AirTags are fairly evenly priced: only the Tile Pro, which has the same battery life, is more costly than Apple’s AirTags. The Tile Sticker – the one with three-year battery life – is the cheapest of the three, it retails for $25.
Still, none of Tile’s products will work seamlessly with Apple’s Find My app. And that, combined with their relatively affordable price tag, is what will help Apple grow its AirTags business massively inside the next 12 months, potentially dwarfing Tile’s in as little as three to six months’ time.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.