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Airtags in your bags - they work!

While I know some of the folks here swear off checking luggage, I'm not one of those people :D I tend to check a bag for longer vacations, and actually find myself having to travel domestically often enough with at least one checked bag for work (usually a big Pelican case full of stuff I very much don't want to lose).

For the last year, I've been using Apple Airtags for my checked bags (and carry on, even). These are little disc-shaped, roughly quarter-sized devices that work with your "Find My" app on your iPhone (if you're an Apple/iPhone user). You can use em on things like your keychains to always know where house and car keys are, put them in a purse or backpack to know where that is, and put them in to your checked luggage so you can follow it as it approaches the baggage carousel, be sure it made it on your plane in the first place, be sure your luggage is where you left it on the train, etc. They use bluetooth, also, so don't interfere with plane systems or anything like that.

I've been able to follow my bags on my phone and essentially watch in real time as they're loaded on to my plane, or on the way to the baggage claim, or even when the large Pelican case has ended up at the oversized baggage claim area instead of the regular carousel.

I haven't seen a thread on here about them yet, so just in case anyone is wondering if there's a device out there that could work for keeping track of bags when you might have to separate yourself from them or worries out losing belongings too often, definitely look in to them! I can confirm they do indeed work quite well and can give you very precise readings on where your items are.

https://www.apple.com/airtag/

Posted by
27424 posts

basically the same as Tile? I have those.

Posted by
6503 posts

Nigel they are same principle as Tile, but they work without requiring a separate phone account subscription. They work by pinging off any nearby iPhone. You download an app to your phone (I think they work with non-Apple, but not sure) and you can track location on maps. I think for newer phones, and maybe extra cost, it can be more specific and you can use to find within your house for example. I have one on my car keys, one in my car, and one in my grandson's school backpack. They're about $30 USD. I had not thought about using for luggage. I'd attach one to my glasses if I could.

Posted by
306 posts

You can get a pack of four on Amazon for $99. Then, of course, you can buy Airtag holders that can be attached (not sure how) so that the Airtags aren't just knocking around in your suitcase, etc. I'm buying the pack of four for my d-i-l's birthday in March for her and my son's trip to Portugal in May. I'd love to hear more reviews here before doing so.

Posted by
778 posts

Cool tools, perfect for the Apple fan like me (and the DW who misplaces her keys once a week). Be aware the advanced feature in the FindMy app that uses a super accurate pointer to actually guide you to the tag, requires a newer iPhone and latest iOS. Our AirTags work well on the ancient XR phones but ye olde tech does not enable the full capabilities of these little things.

Compatible iPhones that can use the advanced features (list from https://www.apple.com/airtag/)
Precision Finding compatible with:
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

Posted by
474 posts

Just adding in some extra lil tidbits - you can get a custom etching on individual airtags when you order them directly from Apple. So you could get etched on to them something like an emoji of a suitcase for the airtag you want to use with that, an emoji of a backpack on the airtag that'll go in your carryon, a keys emoji for the one that goes on your keys, etc. Or just your initials or some other unique identifier, if you want. And they also sell little holders, key rings, etc. I used a cheap lil airtag keyring to fasten it to one of the zippers for an inside pocket in my suitcase, so it doesn't just bounce around loosely inside (or risk falling out of TSA opens it or something). If you're really desperate to find ways to spend money, you can even get a $450 leather Hermes luggage tag to hold your $30 airtag.

Posted by
344 posts

thank you Brian! I now know what to get for my Dad (the man who has everything) for Christmas!

Posted by
27424 posts

I have Tiles. They don't need a seperate (or any) phone subscription, and work with android and apple. They also use bluetooth and neighbouring other tile users' phones. I can find them down to about 10 feet. They then beep so find themselves....

Sounds like these Apple tags use tried and try technology.

Enjoy....

Posted by
1294 posts

Thank you for the summary. I had been thinking about these for the same use case. Picked some up recently and look forward to hopefully use them next year.

Posted by
296 posts

This is intriguing- can I put one in my partner's pocket so he can find me when he wanders off and v.v.

Posted by
296 posts

In fact he's getting a set for Xmas - we loose each other quite often normally when travelling - but now that he works much slower than me its a real issue in crowded places. This will save a lot of faffing around particularly when traveling without him having phone coverage

Posted by
6503 posts

This is intriguing- can I put one in my partner's pocket so he can find me when he wanders off and v.v.

Yes, as long as you both have the "Find My" app on your phones. You can put one on your pet's collar too.

Posted by
296 posts

Yes Im the tech expert in our house -so he has my previous phone so we are all Apple on phones LOL

Posted by
474 posts

Definitely you can use them to find people, too!

As has been mentioned, you could just use the "Find my" app on your phone. Phone is all ya need, no airtag necessary. But if someone doesn't have a phone with the app on it, you could still use the airtag. I can imagine using them for something like a big family trip to Disneyworld - everyone just has an airtag in their pocket so no one gets lost! Pet collar is a great idea also.

Posted by
479 posts

I bought a 4-pack a couple of months ago with the intent of using them for our upcoming trip. I hung one of them on the dog (works great) and stashed the other three, and then of course forgot about them.

So, thanks for the timely post — I’ve been packing the last couple of days, and I’ll dig out those last 3 AirTags. Planning to attach them to a critical medication pouch, a special needs stroller so I can track it if it goes missing on the plane, and to my day bag, just in case I get stupid and leave it somewhere (predictable event).

Posted by
479 posts

I'm back from Spain and happy to report that the airtags are awesome! At one airport, they had stashed my son's stroller (tagged for gate check) in the wrong compartment of the plane and "lost" it. They tried sending us to baggage claim to retrieve it, but I was able to locate it with the airtag and point them back to the plane to find it. Pretty sweet!

Posted by
857 posts

I don't check my luggage but it doesn't need much convincing to get me to buy a new gadget. :) And Kathleen, you're right - they would make a great gift. I have 3 sisters (ironically, one is named Kathleen) and we exchange birthday and Christmas gifts, and we all have Apple phones. I wish I would have thought of this in November!

Posted by
13387 posts

This is intriguing- can I put one in my partner's pocket so he can find me when he wanders off and v.v.

Could a spouse sneak one in a pocket and .... nvm

So what is the range on these things?

Posted by
6503 posts

James E., they work by sending location info via the nearest (anyone's) operating iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. So not limited by distance from you. Yes there are warnings out now and stories of people being tracked for nefarious purposes without knowing it.

Posted by
474 posts

yupyup they use crowdsourcing - range is endless relative to the owner, so long as anyone else or anything else with bluetooth is near the airtag. So you could board your flight and land in Paris, and see precisely where the suitcase that the airline never got on to your plane is sitting back at JFK, for instance.