Can an Apple AirTag Be Used as a Car Tracker?

Apple AirTags were released in April 2021 as a tracker for finding keys, wallets and other items that can be lost easily. As part of your Apple line-up of devices, you can easily track this small token using integrated apps on iPhone’s, iPads, and Macs.

Its main intention is to find smaller items such as wallets, keys, and luggage. But can it be a less expensive alternative to a car tracker?

Car thefts are increasing in the UK, with thieves becoming more intelligent from the new technology that is being released. The AirTag may disrupt a thief’s thinking, but here is why they are not suitable for tracking down your car.

Why It May Be Possible

Firstly, the battery life of an AirTag is excellent. Having around a year’s capacity it can pair easily with your iPhone via Bluetooth. This means you are classed as the owner of the AirTag, linking it with your Apple ID.

The Bluetooth element is limited range, of around 30m. However it is backed up with Apple’s “Find My” network, commonly found in the iPhone, iPad, Airpods and Apple Watches in case they are lost.

The theory here is you may be able to find your car if an AirTag is placed inside somewhere and tracking it using your iPhone in the case of a theft. This is not the case…

Why AirTags are not suitable

Safeguards are in place to prevent AirTags being used as a car tracker. For example the risk of stalking if someone were to place one in another person’s pocket or bag, who may then be tracked the way to their home or work. Luckily Apple had thought of this.

If someone’s AirTag was close by for a long time (24 hours or more) you would be notified about interacting with another device not paired with your iPhone. Then if this is persisting, a noise will be made from the AirTag. Good for preventing stalking security measures. The same cannot be said for a car though.

As the thief will get a notification (if they have an iPhone) of being in range of a different AirTag. Triggering the need to search for it in the car. If it is hard to find then the noise will start emitting, making it much easier to find now.

With the later iPhones (11 or greater) the Ultra-Wideband chip inside will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the AirTag. An AirTag is a great solution for other everyday items that get stolen or lost, but not for using it as a car tracker.

The best car trackers have many more features including a monitored control centre for 24-hour assistance. Who will be able to correspond with the police and help with finding your vehicle. These are insurance approved trackers which are the standard grade for cars in the UK. Another feature is the ability to remotely immobilise your car, even if you are not with it.

Conclusion

An AirTag has a different use case than a GPS tracker. Ideal for finding household and small items, but not for finding cars. A Thatcham approved GPS tracker is the much better alternative to an AirTag. Ideal for far away distances (if you are on holiday for example), and for larger items such as vehicles. With added features that can only help find them quicker, and gets more people involved in the process. As with an AirTag, it’s just you and your phone.

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