Do Airtags Need Cell Service?


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Written By Dinu Sri

Dr. H. T. D. S. Madusanka is an electronic enthusiastic, involved in research and development.

Have you wondered how does AirTag work? Since it is a digital tracking device that also connects with an app, many people think it requires cell services or an internet connection. But is that really the case?

All of our devices are now integrated with the internet. So, it’s pretty normal to think Apple Airtag needs it, too, since it connects to your phone. People have so many questions as it’s a new device only released last year.

Here I will discuss whether you need any cell service or internet connection to run this tracker. You will also get to know the security concerns of Airtag. So, without further ado, let’s take this show on the road immediately.

Do Airtags Need Cell Service?

Apple Airtag is an advanced tracking device. It is a small device that stays attached to your personal belongings and sends location information directly to your iOS devices.

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You don’t need any cell service or cellular data to track this device because it uses Ultra-Wideband Technology and Low Energy Bluetooth to send location information directly to your iCloud.

A lot of people think Airtags need a cell service or internet connection to run and send tracking information. But that’s not the case; it doesn’t use any of those. Airtag is a more advanced technology than conventional trackers. It has hardware and software installed that works offline.

Because of its Low Energy Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband technology, it can connect to your iPhone without any cell service or internet. Besides, the U1 chip helps to locate your Airtags precisely. It only uses a Bluetooth connection to be paired with your iOS device. You will have to use the Find My app to see and locate your Airtags.

Apple introduced the Find My app with iOS 13. Since then, it has gone through a lot of improvements. Now you can use it without any internet connection. You can locate your Airtags through this app without any internet connection. But you can use the internet for a better and more precise result.

But primarily, the Airtag device and the app can work without cell service and internet. All thanks to the U1 chip, Ultra-Wideband Technology, and Low Energy Bluetooth.

Do Airtags Work Without Cellular Data?

Airtags work without any cellular service or data. In fact, it does not require any internet connection to track and send location data. It uses a secure Bluetooth connection while sending tracking information directly to your device when they are within the Bluetooth range of your iPhone.

But what about when they are far away from your phone? Anyone with an iOS device and the Find My app can track and locate them. When they do- you will get a notification instantly. It doesn’t even require any cellphone services or cellular data for that.

You can access the location from your iCloud without an intern without any cellular service. From tracking down your Airtag in small distances to finding a lost one far away, an Airtag does not use a cellular service anywhere in the process. But having an internet connection will come in handy.

Even the Find My app for Apple and My Detector app for Android are offline. You will have to use those apps to locate your Airtags. You can run them without broadband, WiFi, or cellular service.

Instead of cell service and data, Airtags uses Ultra-Wideband Technology and Bluetooth connection to work between them. All the location data from an Airtag is stored in your iCloud. You might need an internet connection to track the locations of a lost Airtag. But you won’t need cellular service or data necessarily.

Does Airtag Need Internet?

Airtags do not require any internet for tracking and sending location information. It uses a secure Bluetooth connection for that. Airtag has Ultra-Wideband and a Low Energy Bluetooth connection that can send the device’s location coordination to your iCloud, and you can trace it down using the Find My app.

When you attach an Airtag to any of your items, it will keep sending its location information. You will have to go to the Find My app if you are trying to find it. In that app, you will see a map showing the exact location of your item.

The good thing is you won’t need any internet connection to do it as long as your Airtag is within the Bluetooth range. But if you lost it somehow and it is far away from your Airtag, in that case, you will have to put it on the Lost Mode. Then other iOS users can be connected to your Airtag.

As soon as they connect, your Airtag will send information to your iCloud. You will receive a notification for that. In order to access that information from the FMP server, you will require an internet connection. It will help you trace the location more precisely.

How Do Airtags Get Signal?

Airtags get signals through a secure Bluetooth connection and UWB technology. Moreover, the U1 chip further helps in sending out exact location information. But how does the whole process work? Let’s find out.

Airtags get signals and send out location information in the following way:

  • Firstly, you have to connect the Airtags with your iPhone and attach them to your stuff.
  • Then the Airtags will keep sending out secure Bluetooth signals, and your iPhone can detect it if it’s within the Bluetooth range and has the Find My app installed.
  • Airtags send location information directly to your iCloud. The location history is stored here.
  • Next, you have to go to the Find My app. You will see the location of your Airtag on a map. But your Airtag will have to be within the Bluetooth range for that. If you have multiple Airtags, you have to select the one you are trying to locate.
  • If you lost your Airtag, you would have to put it on the Lost Mode. Then other people can locate it, and you’ll receive a notification. You can access that location from your iCloud and Find My app.

The whole process of sending location coordination is entirely anonymous and protected by strong encryptions. So, you won’t have to think about your privacy at all.

Do Airtags Only Work On wifi?

Airtags generally does not need wifi or an internet connection to run. It can send location data to your iCloud through its Bluetooth connection and UWB technology. You can directly access the location data from your Find My app. This app can also run offline. So, you won’t require a wifi connection for that.

However, if you lost your Airtag and put it on the Lost Mode, other iPhone users nearby can locate it. You will receive a notification. Then you will have to access the location information from the FMP server. It will require an internet connection. You can use either WiFi or Cellular internet for that.

How Do Airtags Stay Connected?

Airtags do not use an internet connection to stay connected to your Apple devices. They don’t use GPS connections either. Apple has added Low Energy Bluetooth in Airtags, and it will connect to your iOS and macOS devices using this Bluetooth connection.

The Ultra-Wideband technology helps it stay connected to your devices and send location information. Apart from that, each Apple Airtag has a U1 chip inside it. This cutting-edge chip is responsible for the accurate direction you get from the Airtags using the Find My app.

So, in a word, Apple Airtag uses LE Bluetooth, UWB Technology, and U1 chip to stay connected to various iOS and macOS devices.

Does Apple Airtags Have A Range?

If you want to see the live location direction of your Airtag from your Find My app, then there is a range. Your Airtag will have to be within the Bluetooth range of your iPhone. Generally, you can track your Airtag in a precise direction up to 30 feet. You will see and locate this tracking device within this range using your Find My app.

But if you lost your Airtag and put it on the Lost Mode, then there’s no limit. Anyone with an iPhone can detect your Airtag from anywhere in the world. You’ll get notifications as soon as someone connects to your Airtag. If you permit, they can also get your contact information and make contact with you.

Airtag Security Concerns

Airtag is a high-tech tracking device. The tracker has seen its fair share of success since its release. Many people use this tracking device to keep track of their valuable items like wallets, backpacks, keys, etc. It uses a secure Bluetooth connection to send location information.

Besides, it has high security, powerful encryption, and a firewall. Nevertheless, it still has some security concerns. Many people are using it for illegal means. Some reports show that Airtags are being used for car thefts. Some people also use them for stalking other people.

According to the news, many people have found unknown Airtags in their cars and houses, which can be pretty alarming. But Apple has said they are working with law enforcement regarding these issues.

Airtag Not Tracking Issues 

If you see your Airtag is not tracking or cannot find your Airtag on your iPhone, that means there are some issues with it. Multiple reasons can be responsible for it. See if you have correctly connected the Airtag with your iPhone. Your Airtag won’t work if it is signed with another Apple ID.

So check if it’s signed up with the Apple ID you are using on your phone. Another reason your Airtag isn’t working might be because the battery level is down to zero. Check the battery level from the Find My app. If it’s zero, then replace it with a new one.

Can You Track Airtags Anywhere?

Yes, you will get notification information from anywhere. But there’s a glitch. If you are within the Bluetooth range of your iPhone, you can see a direction on the map of your Find My app. It will directly lead you to your Airtag. You can also make sounds from the Airtag.

But if your Airtag is lost and far away from you, you’ll have to put it on the lost mode. Any iPhone user near that Airtag can connect to it. And as soon as they do, you will get a notification. That’s how you can connect to your Airtag from long distances.

Final Thoughts

Apple Airtag is an excellent tracking device. With it, you can easily keep an eye on your keys, wallets, cars, etc. So, the chance of losing them reduces significantly. But a fabulous thing about Airtag is that it can work without any cell service or internet connection. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

References

Brown, S. (2022, June 04). AirTags, Explained: What to Know About Apple’s Bite-Size Trackers. Retrieved from Cnet.com