How long does an AirTag last?


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Written By Dinu Sri

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

Despite of AirTags being very helpful, their will still reach their expiry date. So, if you have an AirTag, you better know what will kill your device and what you can do to make your last longer

Some of the things to expect when buying your AirTag is that your battery will die after one year. But what about the hardware part of the AirTag? What will destroy your AirTag? What can you do to make your device last longer? All this and other questions will be answered in this guide below. 

So, if you have yourself an AirTag device, it would be better if you kept treading this guide. I also give you tips you can use to make your AirTag last longer. So, stay tuned. 

How long does an AirTag last?

No matter how amazing your AirTag is, one day it might stop working. It might be because of something you did or it has reached its expiry. Either way, it is better to be prepared for such a situation. So, in that light, how long does an AirTag last?

  Although Apple says that AirTags are water-proof, dust-proof, and scratch-proof, they are not immune to being damaged. For that reason, you will need to learn how to handle your AirTag better. 

The first thing that will expire in your AirTag is the battery. AirTags use a specific type of battery known as CR2032. It is speculated that CR2032 batteries last for up to 10 years with a 1% discharge rate. I used my AirTag for 14 months and the battery was fully discharged. 

Replacing AirTag battery is not complicated. follow these steps to replace the battery successful. 

  • Press the cover down and start rotating it anticlockwise.
  • Continue rotating until it cannot rotate anymore. 
  • Remove the cover then remove the battery. 
  • Put a new CR2032 battery in the compartment. 
  • Press the battery down until it makes a sound. This will indicate the battery is connected. 
  • Put the cover back by pressing it down and rotating it in clockwise direction. 
  • Rotate the cover until it cannot rotate anymore.

If you replace the battery and the AirTag is still not working then it might be defective. 

There are not many reasons as to why your AirTag will stop working. However, there are things you might be doing that affect the lifespan of the device. These reasons will be discussed in the section below. 

Factors that reduce the lifespan of an AirTag

You can use your AirTag for even 10years provided you take good care of your device. Below are some factors that will affect the efficiency of your AirTag. 

  1. Water

Although Apple indicate that AirTags are water-proof, they are not water-resistant. If by any chance your AirTag drops inside a water basin or pool and stays for a long time, the internal parts will start rusting. 

Rust can destroy all the chips found in the control board which will make the AirTags to stop working eventually. 

Your AirTag might survive a dip in water but not regular. You should wipe dry the AirTag if it happens to fall in water to prevent the damages. 

  1. Dust

If by any chance dust particles find a way to your AirTag control board, the chips might stop working. Dust might even interfere with the radio frequency which are responsible for sending signals to your iPhone. 

Dropping your AirTag frequently will lead to it collecting dust. 

  1. Temperature

It is possible to assume that an AirTag will work under any temperatures. This is however further from the truth. AirTags of operate well between 0°C to 35°C. 

Your AirTag will still function under any temperatures however, exceeding this temperature range will slowly kill your AirTag. 

  1. Dry cleaners

It is not uncommon for someone to throw their clothes with items on a drycleaner with your keys in the pockets. If by any chance you throw your keys in a dry cleaner with the AirTag attached, your AirTag might get damaged. 

For starters the excess water and detergents used in the dry cleaners might interfere with the chips inside the AirTag. 

Secondly the drying cycle in the dryer will distort the radio frequencies that are responsible for sending signals to your iPhone from your AirTag. 

Ensure you check your pockets for AirTags or any other object before throwing clothes inside a dry cleaner. 

  1. Your pet chewing the AirTag

If you are using AirTags for your pet, there is a big likelihood your pet will not like to have an AirTag collar at all time. Your pet might lose the AirTag or keep chewing it if it is reachable. 

When your pet chew the AirTag, the saliva will find a way into the metallic parts of the AirTag which might cause it to rust. 

Ensure you find a quality AirTag pet collar to prevent your Pet from chewing the AirTag. Most solar of AirTag pet collars have a protective casing that can hold your AirTag. 

Although we know AirTags won’t last forever, it is better if you know the things that might reduce the lifespan of your AirTag. It is also wise to have tips that will make your AirTag last longer. I will give you some tips you can follow to ensure your AirTag last longer. 

Tips to make your AirTag last longer

AirTags might not last forever, but taking good care of your AirTag will definitely make it last a bit longer. Although Apple does not offer any solid instructions on how to take good care of your AirTag, people have come together in forums to discuss how they have used their AirTag for over an year without it being damaged. 

Below are some of the tips you can use to make your AirTag last longer. 

  1. Check the battery charge

If your AirTag is not working, there are high chances that the battery has been depleted. Checking a depleted battery is not complicated. 

  • Open Find My app
  • Tap on the item bar
  • Select the AirTag you want to check the battery charge
  • Tap the battery icon
  • The battery charge percentage will be displayed on battery icon

If your battery percentage is very low, you should consider replacing the battery. If the battery is sufficient but your AirTag is not working, then there is a possibility there is an issue with your AirTag. 

  1. Check your pockets for AirTags before throwing clothes inside a dry cleaner

Forgetting you have your keys inside the pockets is not very uncommon. And since we know the water, detergents and the drying cycle in a dry cleaner is bad for your AirTag, you should make it a habit of checking if your pockets have stuff before throwing the clothes inside the drycleaner. 

Apart from the AirTag getting damaged when you throw it inside the dry cleaner, them keys might damage some parts of the drycleaner. 

  1. Avoid putting your AirTag in water 

AirTags might be made of silicone material which is said to be water proof. However, they are not water resistant. Water might still find it’s way inside the metallic parts and get damaged. 

Being rained on will not destroy the AirTag. However, constant fall inside a water basin or pool will definitely damage the AirTag. 

Wipe the AirTag with a dry lint free cloth to prevent if it falls inside a pool of water. 

  1. Avoid dropping your AirTag frequently

AirTags are tiny and strong Bluetooth devices. Although, dropping them on the ground will not damage the hardware, constant dropping will definitely let dust enter inside the inside of the device. Hitting the ground might also displace the chips and make the battery compartment very loose. 

Take good care of the device and if possible find a good casing made specifically for AirTags. 

  1. Clean your AirTag

You don’t have to dip your AirTag in water to clean it. Using Alcohol rubbing pads is one way you can clean your AirTag. Follow this guide to learn how to clean your AirTag the right way. 

  1. Reset your AirTag

Just like any other devices, you are likely to experience some technical errors with an AirTag. Some of the errors you night experience is “AirTag not reachable”. Most of the times this errors are cleared by hard resetting your AirTag device. 

  • Remove the AirTag battery by pressing and rotating the polished stainless steel cover anticlockwise until it does not rotate anymore. 
  • Remove the cover then the battery. 
  • Return the battery and press it down until it produces a sound. 
  • The sound indicates that the battery is connected. 
  • Repeat the process 5 time. The fifth time your AirTag will produce a different sound which indicates you have reset it.
  • Return the cover, press it down, then rotate the cover clockwise ensuring the 3 slots in the AirTag are in alignment with the three bars on the cover. 
  • Rotate until it cannot rotate again then Connect your AirTag with your iPhone. 

Hard resetting your AirTag is the solution to most of the errors that your AirTag might be experiencing. If your hard reset your AirTag and it is still misbehaving, you can use this guide to fix the issue. 

  1. Using the right accessories

Finding the right accessories for your AirTags will make your AirTag last even longer. Since you know that AirTags can be used in different ways, you should also know that each use need a different type of accessory. 

  • Find high quality AirTag pet collar if you are using an AirTag for your pet: There are quite a number of AirTag pet collars that are specifically made for AirTags. Most of these collars have a casing made of soft leather or silicone material. You can therefore be assured your pet will not damage the AirTag by chewing it. 

Your dog can also swim in a pool with it’s collar on and the material will not let any water to reach the AirTag. 

  • Use the right AirTag key chain for your Keys: You can find a quality leather key chain with a casing that is made specifically for AirTags. What you simply do is put the AirTag inside the casing. 

AirTag key chains will protect your keys against dust, scratch and even water. If your keys keep falling, your AirTag will be cushioned from the pressure. 

  • An Adhesive pad will be of help for your bags and wallets: A loose AirTag will stress you up most of the time. There are high chances it might fall, get lost or even stolen. 

Attaching the AirTag in your wallet, or bag with an adhesive tape will definitely make your AirTag last longer. 

AirTags don’t have a tendency of becoming defective easily. However, if you miss handle them, they will not last for long as they should. To prevent this from happening, you can follow the tips I have provided above. 

Do magnets affect AirTags?

AirTags are known to not be magnetic. However, I was going through some forum and so someone say that they have a magnet and that they attract some metals if they are in close proximity. 

I therefore decided to try with my AirTag and see if this is true. 

The side of the AirTag that can is engraved do attract some metals although in a small extent. Turns out, there is a small magnet found in the control board below the battery compartment. 

Are apple AirTags waterproof?

AirTags are made of silicone material which is the same material used to make Apple watches. Silicone material is water-proof and cannot let any water through it. 

However, there are some spaces in between the cover and the AirTag. Water might still find it’s way toward the battery compartment and worse the control board and end up rusting. 

Your AirTag will survive a dip in a water pool or basin and getting rained on. But if it stays in the water for long, water will definitely sip in. The estimated period that your AirTag can survive in water is 1 hour and below 100 meters deep. You can still track an AirTag that is inside the water pool. 

AirTags might be water proof but not water resistant. 

How cold can AirTags get?

Airtags ideal working temperatures is between 0°C to 35°C. This is not to mean that they cannot operate on temperatures outside that range. 

After experimentations, it is said that AirTags can withstand temperatures of up to -22°C and high temperatures of 44°C. This should however be for a few minutes or your AirTag will be completely dead. 

Therefore if by any chance your AirTag find itself in a freezer, it will stay intact for up to 1 hour. Your AirTag will however starts to let water sips inside the battery and the battery will be destroyed.

AirTags might be so helpful in the long run when it comes to keeping in touch with your belongings. Taking good care of them will be of so much advantage as it will prolong their lifespan. Follow all the tips provided to ensure your device is safe at all times. 

Aside from tracking valuables, did you know that Apple is always improving the software of their devices. Most of the time the updates happen when they want to better a specific service. For instance, the latest update was to ensure no one can use your AirTag to stalk you. Since this is not the last innovation we are expecting from Apple, you can as well subscribe to my page to always stay ahead with these new innovations. 

Conclusion

People are always assuming that AirTags will not get damaged or become defective based on how they look. Unfortunately, all man made devices have an expiration date. 

The expiration might be induced or happen over time. And since AirTags are fairly new in existence, there is no single AirTag that has reached its expiration if it is not induced. 

Factors like water, dust, drop, and chew are the common causes of your AirTag becoming defective. Luckily, we have provided you with a guide that will help your AirTag last longer than you expect. 

Another thing that will die in an AirTag is the battery, check the battery percentage based on the instructions provided in my guide and see if you need a replacement. 

Other than that, AirTags are great devices with a lot to offer. Stick around by subscribing to this page to learn more about AirTags. 

References 

  1. Leu, P., Camurati, G., Heinrich, A., Roeschlin, M., Anliker, C., Hollick, M., … & Classen, J. (2021). Ghost Peak: Practical Distance Reduction Attacks Against HRP UWB Ranging. arXiv preprint arXiv:2111.05313.
  2. Classen, J., Heinrich, A., Reith, R., & Hollick, M. (2022, May). Evil Never Sleeps: When Wireless Malware Stays On After Turning Off iPhones. In Proceedings of the 15th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (pp. 146-156).
  3. Yue, Y., Ding, J., Kang, Y., Wang, Y., Wu, K., & Fei, T. (2019, November). A location-based social network system integrating mobile augmented reality and user generated content. In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Location-based Recommendations, Geosocial Networks and Geoadvertising (pp. 1-4).