An Apple AirTag could be used to track all manner of things: people, belongings, pets and even vehicles. But, is a $29 Bluetooth item tracker really a thing to rely on. Can we put it on an item or vehicle – say an electric scooter to track the whereabouts of it – especially if it’s stolen?
Let me share a story of a person who recovered his stolen stolen scooter because of an AirTag. Here’s what I think – and why the AirTag might well prove to be worth every cent if your vehicle is stolen.
Locating a stolen eScooter
The key question I suspect most people want answered is could the AirTag help track down a stolen car, bike or scooter. I’d give that a qualified ‘yes’. Here’s a short story of a person who actually retrieved his expensive scooter with an AirTag stashed with it.
A person whose name is Noraa stores her scooter in her garage. Quite unfortuante, she lost it when a few bad people stole it from the garage. It was the only thing the thieves stole.
The first thing she did before calling the police was open the “Find My” app to try to locate it at first place. After spending nearly a full day chasing the AirTag all around multiple towns, she gave up because unwillingly.
The next morning, however, she opened Find My again and the AirTag Bluetooth item tracker had checked in very close to her.
She was able to get close enough that her iPhone connected to it, and then it was a simple matter of just following the directions on her phone.
Turned out, her scooter was sitting on a guys porch. A call to the police and 30 min later she had recovered her scooter, and those involved with the theft were arrested!
AirTags are far from perfect tracking devices, but for $30 and no subscription, it’s a no brainer to get a single AirTag or a pack of four for $99 for item you fear could be lost or stolen.
If you’re wondering “Can I Use Apple’s AirTag as a GPS Tracker”, the anser is a No. First off, Apple Bluetooth tracker is not a GPS tracker. It has limitations up front. This is not a great gadget to rely on for live tracking.
So, if you see your car being stolen off the drive, don’t expect that you’ll be able to see a little dot moving across Apple Maps, plotting the car’s live journey.
How do the AirTags then work
The AirTag works by connecting to nearby iPhones or iPads using ultra-wideband technology. That has a maximum range of about 30ft (9m).
The Bluetooth key finder doesn’t have to lock on to your iPhone to provide a location – it will latch onto any modern iPhone or iPad.
If your car thief has an iPhone and happens to be in an area with many iPhone user, the updates might be regular. If not, you could be waiting ten minutes, half an hour or even hours between location updates, because it will need someone to pass close by with an iPhone/iPad.
AirTag or a GPS tracker for Vehicle Tracking
If you use Apple tracker rather than a GPS system to track a vehicle, you can locate cars in underground car parks, for example. You can also leverage the ‘Precise Finding’ feature (only available on iPhone 11 or 12 models) to help you pinpoint the car’s exact location in that car park or tunnel. Although by the time Precise Finding kicks in you’ll probably be able to see the car anyway.