Do you remember the last time you searched for your car keys and how stressful it was? Now, imagine being able to dial a number, and your car key starts ringing. Well, Apple is trying to achieve something similar, but not by calling your car keys on your phone – instead, by tracking them with a device called “an AirTag.” However, the big question is whether there’s a way to use AirTags on Android or if it’s not possible at all.
While AirTags are primarily designed for iOS devices, Android users can also tap into the power of this innovative product with a few clever workarounds. In this guide, we’ll explore how to use AirTags on Android, covering various methods and alternative apps.
What are AirTags?
AirTags are small, coin-sized tracking devices created by Apple for iOS users. They are designed to help users track and locate their lost or misplaced items, including keys, wallets, bags, and more, using Bluetooth technology.
Key features of AirTags include:
- Precision Finding: Equipped with the U1 chip (found in iPhone 11 and later models), AirTags offer pinpoint location tracking using Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology. Meaning AirTags are capable of giving you the exact location of the lost or misplaced item.
- Bluetooth Connectivity: AirTags establish Bluetooth connections with nearby devices, allowing them to communicate their location.
- User-Replaceable Battery: AirTags are powered by a standard CR2032 coin cell battery, which can be replaced and lasts up to a year.
- Find My App: The Find My app on iOS devices facilitates the tracking of AirTags, displaying their locations on a map.
Can I use AirTags on Android?
The simple answer is Yes and No.
No, in the sense that AirTags are not made for Android devices but for Apple’s ecosystem. But YES because there are workarounds that can be adopted to find lost items or know if someone is stalking you.
And that’s just it. If you need something like AirTags that works perfectly with Android devices, go for AirTag’s alternative for Android.
How to Use AirTags with Android
Before you can track an AirTag, it must have been paired with an iOS device. If you don’t have an iOS device, you can borrow one from someone you trust because the AirTag is going to be tied to that person’s Apple ID.
To pair an AirTag with an iPhone (or iPad), simply tap the back of your device with the AirTag and your phone will prompt you with the next steps.
Once it has been paired with an iOS device, here are 2 methods to use AirTags on Android:
1. Using Bluetooth Scanner
You already know how to connect your headphones to your devices with Bluetooth, the same procedure can be repeated to connect AirTags with your Android devices. But this time, you will need to use a third-party app.
If you are ready, here is how to use AirTags on Android with Bluetooth:
- Get a Bluetooth scanner, there are tons of them on the Google Play Store such as LightBlue
- Enable Bluetooth on your Android device
- Open the Bluetooth scanner app and scan for nearby devices
- The AirTag should be on the list of available devices as “Unnamed”
- Tap on the Bluetooth name to establish a connection and you’re good.
2. Using NFC
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a short-range wireless technology that allows communication and exchange of data between two devices when they are close. If your Android phone has NFC built-in, you can connect to any close AirTag. Here is how;
- Ensure that NFC is enabled on your Android device. Go to settings, search for NFC, and enable it.
- Gently tap your Android device’s NFC-enabled area (typically near the top) against the AirTag.
- This action will prompt your Android device to open a link displaying the AirTag’s serial number and contact information.
- If the AirTag owner has provided contact information, you can get in touch with them to arrange the return of the lost item or track them down
3. Use a third-party app like Tracker Detect
There are several tracking apps available on the Google Play Store such as Tracker Detect developed by Apple, Tile, etc., that can assist you in tracking AirTags with your Android device. In case you suspect someone is stalking you, or you lost an item with an attached AirTag, you can use them.
- Download a tracker app for free on Play Store (using Tracker Detect as an example)
- Once it’s installed, open it and click on the SCAN button
- It will start scanning for any AirTag, don’t leave the area
- If there’s any AirTag nearby, you will see it as “Unknown AirTag”. Click on it
- Wait for about 10 minutes for the AirTag to connect and activate the AirTag’s speaker
- Once it is connected, you can click on “Play Sound” to know the exact location of the AirTag
Remember that AirTags are made specifically for iOS devices, so don’t expect to enjoy the full functionality of the device on your Android device. Also, while these workarounds would help you locate the Bluetooth signal emitted by the AirTag, the Find My app made by Apple for iOS is the best for tracking AirTags.
How Does an Apple AirTag Work?
AirTags operates by utilizing Bluetooth technology to establish connections with nearby devices, whether they are iOS devices or Android smartphones. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how AirTags function:
- Pairing with a device: AirTags must be initially paired with an iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad. During this setup, they are associated with the user’s Apple ID which is of course, unique to each user.
- Bluetooth Connectivity: AirTags continuously send out Bluetooth signals. When they are within range of an Apple device signed in with the same Apple ID, the device detects the AirTag’s signal.
- Location Data: The Apple device collects location data from the AirTag and sends it to iCloud, to ensure the user’s privacy.
- Accessing Location: To track the AirTag’s location, users can open the Find My app on their iOS device, and they will see the AirTag’s last known location on a map.
- Precision Finding: For iPhone 11 and later models equipped with a U1 chip, users can leverage Precision Finding. This feature combines Bluetooth, UWB, and augmented reality (AR) to guide users precisely to the AirTag’s location.
How Much is an AirTag?
Currently, a single AirTag is priced at $29, while a pack of four is available for around $99. And you can customize your AirTag(s) and get it delivered to you for free. If you would like to get one for yourself, buy online from the Apple store directly or visit a walk-in Apple store near you.
Your workaround with AirTags on Android
Although AirTags are primarily intended for Apple’s ecosystem, Android users can still utilize them with a bit of setup. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can leverage the tracking capabilities of AirTags on your Android device, ensuring that your valuable items are never lost again and someone is not stalking you.
But if you want to enjoy something like AirTags to the fullest with your Android phone, AirTag is not for you but you can go for its alternative for Android.