Our story consists of four parts. This is part three: Apple AirTag Release
by Christian Kulas
APPLE KEYNOTE, April 20, 2021
Yes, I admit it. I’m an Apple fan. I like their products because they work well for me. My first Apple device was a second generation iPod that I imported from America during my teenage years. On April 20 2021, as always, I watched the Apple keynote live. Apple introduced the AirTag and my first thought was: I really want this part on my bike!
The AirTag solves all the problems I previously had with the GSM / GPS trackers:
Since then, many have recognized that the AirTag is a great option to track your bike. The number of YouTube videos and success reports is growing steadily, even though this usage was actually not intended by Apple. Here is a video clip by YouTube channel: Bikespeeds.
- One year battery life instead of a few days and the it can easily be replaced.
- Indoor and outdoor tracking easily possible.
- No dependence on cell phone contracts and bad connections. So there are no monthly costs.
- Only 11g for the AirTag and extremely small, instead of 100g or 200g for a GPS tracker with a bulky battery.
HOW DOES THE AIRTAG WORK?
AirTags run on Apple’s Find-my-network. They continuously send out Bluetooth codes that are received by Apple devices such as iPhones and reported to the iCloud. Their owners do not notice this and cannot influence it. The codes cannot be traced back to a specific user by third parties. Only the owner of AirTags can check the iCloud to find out where their AirTags are.
Since there are more than a billion Apple devices in circulation around the world, lost (or stolen) AirTags can be easily tracked down. This works especially well in cities, where bikes are typically stolen.
With an iPhone 11 or newer, there is another advantage: Apple’s Precision Finding. This makes it possible to pinpoint the location of an AirTag down to only a few centimeters. In my tests, I was even able to walk through the apartment building and see which floor my bike was on.
How about the power source
Due to only using bluetooth signals the most power consuming part (updating the location) is hand over to the iPhones around it. The AirTag itself only has a coin cell which is sufficient for one year.