AirTag is officially out in the wild and includes seamless integration with iOS and a compelling host of features to keep track of your items. Let’s dive into the setup, how to find AirTags with the precision UI, enter Lost Mode, replace the battery, what sound effects mean, and much more.

Like AirPods, AirTag features instant pairing and a super smooth user experience. It’s a breeze to get set up but we’ll also cover more in-depth specifics.

How to set up and find AirTags, use Lost Mode, replace battery, more

AirTag setup

  • After you unbox an AirTag, unwrap the plastic and remove the pull tab (you’ll hear a beep when it turns on)
  • Make sure you’re running iOS 14.5 and hold it near your iPhone
  • Follow the on-screen prompts

Here’s how the process looks:

How to set up and find AirTags

If you don’t want to use one of the available names, swipe to the bottom and choose “Custom Name.”

When your AirTag set up is finished, you’ll get the option to view it in the Find My app.

How to find AirTags, play a sound

  • Once you’ve set up your AirTag(s) you can ask Siri to find it or jump into the Find My app for more control
  • At the top, you’ll see the battery life and just below “Play Sound” and “Find”
  • Having your AirTag play a sound is a fast way to find it when you know it’s nearby but need a little help
  • If you’re not sure where your item is, tap “Find” to use the U1-powered precision finding experience
  • If you’ve misplaced an item further away, you can view the location on the map, get directions, or as we’ll cover more below, put it in Lost Mode
  • The option to turn on “Notify When Found” is only available when you’re not nearby your AirTag
How to find AirTag, play sound, see battery

After choosing “Find,” if you’re not close enough to your AirTag you’ll see a “Connected. Signal is weak. Try moving to a different location” prompt.

How to find AirTag, play a sound, enable Lost Mode, more

Once you get within range, you’ll get extremely accurate directional guidance:

How to find AirTag - precision finding UI

You can have your AirTag play a sound while you using precision finding (bottom right corner). One thing to keep in mind, you’ll need an iPhone 11 or 12 for this feature since it’s powered by the U1 chip.

How to enable AirTag’s Lost Mode and identify found items

  • If you lose an item you’re tracking with an AirTag, head to Find My > Items > your AirTag
  • Near the bottom under Lost Mode, tap Enable
  • Follow the prompts, enter a phone number and custom message if you’d like (default message says “Please call me.”
  • Tap the toggle to turn on notifications when your item is found
  • Tap Activate in the top right corner
How to enable AirTag Lost Mode

Lost Mode works in a couple of ways. First, Apple leverages anyone who has an iPhone to anonymously locate your item when they’re nearby it. Second, if someone finds your AirTag, they can scan it, see your message and your phone number to get it back to you (Android devices can read them too).

If you come across a lost AirTag, head to the Find My app > Items and choose Identify Found Item.

How to replace AirTag’s battery

  • Apple says the battery life for AirTag should last over a year
  • You can monitor the battery life in the Find My app
    • After you tap on an item, look just below the item name
  • To replace the battery, give the metal back a slight turn from right to left (using two thumbs works well)
  • Replace the 2032 coin-cell battery
  • Line up the teeth of the metal battery cover, twist from left to right to secure it
  • You’ll hear a sound when the AirTag has power again

Belkin’s Secure Holder for AirTag

For a closer look at Apple’s AirTag accessories that range from $29-$39, check out my colleague Ben Lovejoy’s initial impressions here.

I decided to grab the $12.99 Belkin Secure Holder with Strap for AirTag. It works as a luggage tag or can be used with any keyring too.

  • Made from hard plastic – comes in four colors
  • Features a twist-lock design that’s easy to use
  • Seems to offer good protection, but won’t totally prevent scratches

I was expecting more of a soft finish on this but it’s entirely made of hard plastic. While this is one of more affordable options out there at $12.99 – there are cheaper options on Amazon.

Privacy, teardown, more

What AirTag sounds mean

AirTag has a range of sound effects and Apple has shared a short video covering what all of them mean:

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.