How Often Does the Apple AirTag Update Location?
The functionality of your AirTag depends on your iPhone’s location services. If the device doesn’t refresh its location frequently, you may have a harder time tracking down the item connected to your AirTag. So, how often does this bite-sized machine receive updates on its whereabouts?
You’ll find out in this article. We’ll discuss the frequency of AirTag location updates and other useful aspects of this feature.
Updating Frequently When it Can
To determine how often your AirTag location updates, you first need to understand how the device works. Namely, it doesn’t have built-in location features. It receives information about your whereabouts through your iPhone. When the smartphone is close enough, it establishes a link. In turn, your phone obtains the AirTag’s ID, allowing you to track down the device.
As for the frequency of location updates, it depends on your AirTag’s whereabouts. If the device is in a crowded area with many smartphones nearby, the location can be refreshed as often as every 60-120 seconds. But if the gadget is in a relatively remote area, you may stop receiving updates since the device can’t reach you. There aren’t any “Find My” gadgets in the radius that would help secure a connection.
This also dictates when the “Last Seen” notification appears on your screen. As AirTags don’t broadcast locations directly, they update whereabouts when an iPhone connected to the “Find My” network passes nearby. As a result, “Last Seen” tells you the last time your AirTag came into contact with an iOS device that relayed its whereabouts to the network.
If the “Last Seen” update indicates a distant period, it probably means your gadget is in an isolated location with few passing iPhones that would let it report its place.
Another explanation is that the gadget has moved from its last known location. There hasn’t been a single device that has updated its whereabouts.
What’s the AirTag Range?
Your AirTag works within your Find My network range – it doesn’t define the range by itself. This means you can passively communicate with your gadget if it’s within the radius of any other iPhone.
For instance, you can pinpoint the location of your AirTag by referencing other people’s devices, regardless of their location. All they need to do is walk near your gadget.
Unfortunately, you’ll have difficulty tracking it down if you misplace it deep in the woods or other places people rarely visit.
Can You See the Location History of Your AirTag?
The only location of your AirTag you can check out is its current whereabouts. Therefore, you can’t explore its location history or its path over time. While the lack of this feature might be annoying, Apple has introduced it to prevent other people from tracking you. Coupled with some additional security measures, it helps protect your privacy.
Can You Track People or Pets With AirTag?
Apple has incorporated first-class security features into AirTags to keep you from tracking people with this gadget. For example, you have seamless access to these functions if your iPhone runs iOS 14.5 or more recent systems and your AirTag isn’t registered under the Apple ID. In this case, you’ll get alerted of other AirTags in close proximity via push notifications.
The same holds for users of older systems. If your iPhone can’t support iOS or you have an Android phone, you’ll still be warned about orphan AirTags. This is because any gadget outside the parent phone’s network starts making noises after 2-3 days of solitude.
Earlier in 2022, Apple announced they would boost AirTags with more security measures. The highlight of these new features is warning people on time if they’ve been followed by a rogue AirTag. On top of that, iPhones 11 (and more recent devices) can use Precision Finding to pinpoint the exact whereabouts of unwanted AirTags.
Hence, AirTags aren’t meant for tracking people. They’re not designed for tracking pets either. The reason is simple – your cat or dog often walks off the Find My grid. Unless they walk by an iPhone user, you won’t be able to find your furry friends.
That said, you can still use your AirTag to monitor your pets. Here are some of the most common accessories you can combine with the gadget.
- Silicone keychains
- Comfort tags
- AirTag holders
- Collar sleeves
- Leather loops
- Snap cases
How to Set Up Precision Finding on AirTag
As previously mentioned, Precision Finding goes a long way in preventing malicious actors from tracking you with AirTags. You can also use it to accurately determine the distance to your AirTag.
Take the following steps to enable this convenient feature and set up your AirTag properly:
- Make sure your iPod, iPhone, or iPad runs iOS 14.5 or later.
- Turn on two-factor authentication.
- Activate the Find My feature.
- Enable your Bluetooth and connect to a stable Wi-Fi network.
- Set up your location services by visiting Settings,Privacy, and Location Services.
- Scroll down until you find the Find My section.
- Check the While Using App or While Using Widgets or App box, depending on your preferences.
- Toggle Precise Location on.
After enabling Precision Finding, it’s time to configure your AirTag:
- Unwrap the gadget and pull out the protective tab to activate your battery. You should now hear a sound from the AirTag.
- Hold the AirTag near an iPod, iPad, or iPhone and press the Connect option. If you’ve powered up multiple AirTags, you may see the “More AirTags detected” message. If so, make sure just one gadget is close to your other device. The others should be turned off or out of range.
- Choose a name from the available list or use a custom name for your AirTag.
- Select an emoji and tap Continue.
- Hit the Continue button again to register the AirTag with the corresponding Apple ID.
- Hit Done, and you’ll be able to use Precision Finding with your AirTag.
Another great thing about AirTag is that it lets you change the name and emoji of the device. This is what you should do if you’re not happy with the original elements:
- Go to Find My and press Items.
- Tap the Air Tag whose emoji or name you wish to change.
- Scroll and find the Rename Item option.
- Type in a custom name or select one from the available list.
- Choose a new emoji.
- Press Done to save your changes.
If you’re having trouble setting up the AirTag, here are the potential solutions:
- Verify your device is setup-ready by making sure it uses the appropriate iOS.
- If your setup animation disappears, press the Sleep/Wake or side button on the iPhone to activate sleep mode. After a few seconds, restart and unlock the smartphone. Wait for 15-20 seconds, and your animation should appear.
- If you want to set up multiple AirTags, don’t connect them at the same time. Link them one by one.
- Remove and replace your AirTag battery.
Can You Configure Your AirTag to Make Sounds?
You can tweak your AirTags to make various sounds. If they’re within the Bluetooth range of your smartphone, you can configure them to produce audio, allowing you to find the gadgets more easily. This feature is especially useful if your iPhone isn’t compatible with Precision Finding.
Enabling sounds shouldn’t take you more than a few seconds:
- Open Find My.
- Click your Items tab.
- Select the AirTag you wish to find.
- Choose Play Sound. Alternatively, tell Siri to play sounds for you with various commands. For example, “Hey Siri, find my AirTag” works great most of the time.
Retrieve What You Lost
Due to the fact that AirTags don’t generate location information on their own, finding them in isolated areas is nearly impossible. But if you lost your gadget somewhere busy, you shouldn’t have trouble retracing your steps. Just make sure to use Precision Finding or play sounds to track down your device in no time.
Have you ever recovered a lost AirTag? If so, how long did it take you? How easy is it to set up an AirTag with your iOS? Tell us in the comments section below.