How to Use AirTags to Track Dogs or Cats

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Matthew M. White
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AirTags are tracking devices developed by Apple. They were created to find your keys, wallets, other small devices, etc., which can easily be misplaced. But have you ever considered using them to track your pets? Read on to find out how to use AirTags with dogs or cats.

How to configure AirTags

Although AirTags weren't originally intended to track your pets, you can certainly use them for that purpose, and it's very easy to set them up. Simply connect the AirTag to your device, add it to your pet's collar, and you're ready to go.



How do AirTags track my pets?

AirTags use ultra-wideband technology to send a signal to your device. Why is it called ultra-wideband technology? Because it can transmit information over a wide bandwidth, from 500 MHz to several gigahertz! It is therefore compatible with different wireless technologies without interrupting other signals.

Ultra-wideband technology is not new to the market. It was known as "pulse radio" at the turn of the century, and it was used in military and medical equipment. Since it is extremely precise and provides data in real time, ultra-wideband technology has found its raison d'être here: to locate objects.

Most animal trackers use GPS satellites and cellular connections to track their furry friends. Unlike other trackers, AirTags do not use this technology and cannot connect to the Internet. They send secure Bluetooth signals to iCloud, informing you of their location in real time. You can access the location if you open your “Find My” app on your Apple device.


However, if your pet runs away or gets lost, the AirTag will no longer be within your Bluetooth range. In this case, you can put it in lost mode. So if your pet walks past an Apple user, you'll automatically receive a notification. If someone finds your pet and sees the AirTag, they can tap it and see the information you provided, such as your name and phone number, and contact you immediately.


What's great is that AirTags aren't limited to Apple users — any device with NFC functionality, including Android, can get your contact information by tapping the AirTag.

Benefits of Using AirTags with Pets

There are many benefits to using AirTags to track your pets. Let's take a look at them:

  1. Efficiency – AirTags allow you to see your pet's exact location at all times. If you're an iPhone 11 or 12 user, you have the option to search with precision – this lets you view the exact distance and direction of your pet when it's in range.
  2. Price – unlike pet trackers which can cost hundreds of dollars, AirTags are cheap! Their pricing starts at $29 apiece, which isn't much for a product that can save you hours of searching for your pet. You can also buy a pack of four AirTags for $99.
  3. Easy to install – AirTags are very user-friendly. Just take it out of the box and pull the tab to activate it. Then place a compatible mobile device next to the AirTag and a notification will appear on your device for you to set it up. You can add a name to your AirTag, for example, your pet's name.
  4. Size - AirTags are small and lightweight, so they won't be too heavy for your pet. The diameter of the AirTag is 1,26 inches (31,9 mm), its height is 0,31 inches (8,0 mm) and its weight is 0,39 ounces (11 grams).
  5. Battery Life - AirTags have great battery life - it lasts about a year! When the battery is low, you will receive a notification asking you to change it. What's also great is the type of battery. AirTags use a CR2032 battery, which is often found in devices such as remote controls. You can buy them in almost any store and they are cheap.
  6. Resistance - AirTags are splash, water and dust resistant, so they are a great tracking device for your pet.
  7. Personalization – if you order your AirTag from the Apple website or the Apple Store app, you can have your AirTag engraved for free. So, for example, you can put your pet's name on the AirTag, or add some of the 31 emojis available.
  8. Security – location is never stored in the AirTag, and only you can access the location. Another cool feature is that iOS devices can detect an AirTag that is not with its owner, improving security. This reduces the chances of your pet ending up in the wrong hands.
  9. Track multiple pets – you can connect up to 16 AirTags at once. So if you have more than one pet and want to track them all, AirTags can be a great option.

Disadvantages of Using AirTags with Pets

  1. AirTags are not pet trackers – although AirTags are used for tracking, they are meant to track objects.
  2. Doesn't work everywhere - if you live in a city or town, AirTags can be great for tracking your pets. However, if you live in an area where there aren't many Apple users, you won't be able to track your pet if they run away because there won't be any devices nearby that can tag the location of your AirTag.
  3. Resistance limits – although advertised as being splash, water and dust resistant, AirTags have their limits. For example, they are waterproof up to 1 meter and up to 30 minutes. Their resistance may also decrease over time. So if your pet likes to run and swim, it will affect the resistance of your AirTag.
  4. Pets can damage it - pet owners know how much they love to play. Animal trackers are designed to withstand this type of damage. Since AirTags are not intended to be used for tracking pets, they can be damaged more easily, which can lead to malfunction.
  5. Pets can lose it – if your pet gets lost or runs away and loses the AirTag, you will be able to locate the AirTag, but not the pet. So if the AirTag is loose or not properly attached to your pet, it can easily detach from your furry friend. And because AirTags weren't designed for pet tracking, Apple doesn't offer any official accessories to keep the AirTag securely attached to your pet.
  6. No Family Sharing Option – Since the location of an AirTag can only be viewed by the owner, it is not possible to share it with family members. This can be a problem for people in the same household, especially when AirTags are used to track pets. If someone in your household is walking the dog and the dog disappears during the walk, they won't be able to find the location of the AirTag. The same goes for tracking keys, wallets, purses, etc.

Should I track my pets with AirTags?

Although AirTags were not designed to track your pets, you can use them for that purpose. They are cheap, reliable, have long battery life and if you live in an urban area they will be efficient. However, if you want to be 100% sure that you will be able to track your pet at all times and in any condition, you should get a tracker specifically designed for pets.



Advice: If you decide to track your pets with AirTags, make sure the AirTag is properly attached to your pet, but also check to see if your pet is comfortable with it. If not, he can try to untie it.


Additional FAQs

Can I get pet-friendly accessories for AirTags?

Apple does not recommend using AirTags to track pets and does not offer any official such accessories. However, many manufacturers have already created different types of accessories that can keep your AirTag safe and your pet comfortable.

For example, you can purchase a tag holder or protective case to put the AirTag in and attach it to your dog's collar.

Also, there are various options when it comes to the collars themselves. They come in a range of different materials, colors and sizes, with specially created sleeves or pockets for AirTags. Depending on your preferences, you can choose the one you prefer – just make sure the AirTag is safe.

How long do AirTag batteries last?

The AirTag battery has a long life. Due to the technology used, the battery lasts approximately one year. When the battery is low, you will receive a notification that you need to change it. Since AirTags use a CR2032 battery, which is common for devices like remote controls, they're cheap and easy to find.


The AirTag battery has a long life. Due to the technology used, the battery lasts approximately one year. When the battery is low, you will receive a notification that you need to change it. Since AirTags use a CR2032 battery, which is common for devices like remote controls, they're cheap and easy to find.

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