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Apple AirTag for Bike Tracking: Does it Actually Work?

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Can I use an Apple AirTag to track my bike? The answer is yes.

Apple designed the AirTag as a tracking device to act as a key finder and to help people find personal objects. But since its launch in April 2021, the AirTag has proved to be more than just good for finding keys but also works great when it comes to finding other items…like tracking bicycles.

Can I Use an AirTag for Bike Tracking?

Yes, you can track your bicycle using an AirTag. Thanks to its coin-sized design the AirTag is ideal for attaching to your bicycle.

To use an AirTag you need an iPhone or iPad capable of at least running iOS/iPadOS 14.5. Then you simply need to connect to Apple’s “Find My” function and you can track your tag in real-time.

If your AirTag is nearby, your iPhone can lead you straight to it with a function called “Precision Finding”. Your phone will literally point you in the right direction using an arrow. You‘ll see the distance to your AirTag and the direction to head in.

As a safety measure, you should not attempt to recover your stolen bicycle yourself. It’s best to take your phone to law enforcement and ask them to accompany you to where your AirTag is pinging.

It’s also important to know that AirTags don’t replace other security measures like bike locks and alarms.

ALSO READ: Bike Security System: The Best Protection for Your Bicycle

How Do I Attach an AirTag to My Bike?

In order to track your bike using an AirTag you’ll need to find somewhere to discreet to hide ie. This is where AirTag mounts come in handy. They help disguise your AirTag so it’s out of sight.

Just like phone and laptop covers, the market was quick to react to Apple’s shiny new toy and there is already a magnitude of AirTag mounts available on the market. The function of these mounts are to attach your tag to your bicycle in a discreet way which will make it difficult for thieves to find.

ALSO READ: Best AirTag Bike Mounts

Can an AirTag Be Used as a GPS Bike Tracker?

Although Apple AirTags can track your bike’s location for the most part, it isn’t a GPS bike tracker. AirTags work thanks to Bluetooth; they don’t connect to the Internet, so certainly don’t share their location through it, either.

In short, they’re not like a typical GPS bike tracker, but can still track. Plus, they’re also a fraction of the price of a proper tracker (£29 for AirTag vs £100-plus and the cost of a subscription for other GPS trackers).

A photo of an iPhone and an Apple AirTag
An Apple AirTag and iPhone.

Is It Worth Getting an AirTag for My Bike? [Pros + Cons]

Is ‘AirTag cycling’ really viable? Let’s go over the main benefits and drawbacks:

Pros

Locating the bike – They won’t fight off or scare away thieves, but AirTags, much like GPS trackers, can at least come in handy for finding out the new location of your bike with the ‘Find My’ function. All the while, you would hope, the AirTag has gone unnoticed by the thief. For a limited time, anyway.

Much lower cost – Considering what you get in terms of security, you may consider £29 for an AirTag better value for money than the likely three-figure cost for a more established GPS tracker.

Long battery life – An AirTag battery should last you about a year and is easily (and cheaply replaceable) which is far more convenient than constantly having to replace or recharge it.

Cons

Protection of privacy – Apple is cautious of AirTags being misused for tracking people. If an AirTag accompanies a different person for a certain amount of time, the AirTag will draw attention to itself automatically, sending a message to that effect to an iOS users. After three days the AirTag will make a noise to draw attention to it.

Not incognito forever – A thief will almost certainly notice the AirTag sooner or later – although it will give you a window of time to locate it.

Limited availability – Not in terms of where you can buy them, but where you can use them. In busy, hustling, bustling cities, this won’t be a problem; your bike is bound to be in the region of an Apple device user sooner or later. But what about in more sparsely populated areas, where far fewer people will pass through?

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag
  • UK Flag £23
  • US Flag $29
  • EU Flag €27

Prices are approximate

Apple AirTag Alternatives

If you’re still not sold on the AirTag, we compiled a list of some of the best GPS bike trackers on the market, which you can peruse here.

If none of those four float your boat, either, check out these two:

Samsung SmartTag

This gadget offers a service already built into Samsung’s Galaxy range of phones, and much like the AirTag, is great for keeping an eye on your keys, wallet, pets or more.

Retailing at £29.99, the SmartTag is a small, battery-powered device which can be linked to your Samsung account to help you locate lost items. You can then use a gauge on the screen to show how far away the item in question is; the fuller the gauge, the closer you are. Plus, other Samsung devices passing the SmartTag will anonymously alert you to its location.

In many ways, it’s really the Samsung equivalent of Apple’s AirTags.

Samsung SmartTag

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag in black
  • UK Flag £24
  • US Flag $30
  • EU Flag €28

Prices are approximate

The Tile Pro

Labelled ‘the best Bluetooth tracker’ by the New York Times, Tile is another gadget which, thanks to its Bluetooth function and its own app, makes finding lost belongings far easier.

Yet what perhaps sets it apart from the SmartTag or the AirTag is it’s more universal; the Tile app can be used on iOS, Android or Windows operating systems, rather than being exclusive to just one of them.

If you want to tag your phone with the Tile tracker, a double-press of the logo on your Tile will make your phone ring, even when on silent. Plus, even when you’re outside of its Bluetooth range, the Tile app will show you your Tile’s most recent location. You can also be aided anonymously by ‘The Network’ in recovering your lost item.

Tile Pro

Tile Pro
  • UK Flag £55
  • US Flag $70
  • EU Flag €64

Prices are approximate

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