After an excruciatingly long wait, the AirTags are finally here. The Apple-branded object tracker, to no one’s surprise, is rooted deeply in the company’s ecosystem of products and services. From the get go, you need an Apple phone for the AirTag to work, and to access its most advanced feature, you must have the latest or a fairly new iPhone. But the Apple object tracker relies on Bluetooth, which is not an ecosystem-exclusive perk, right? So, you surely must be wondering:
Well, the answer is both yes and no. Confusing, isn’t it? Well, let me break it down for you. For the core job of tracking down lost items, an Apple device such as an iPhone or iPad is mandatory. An Android device will only work with the AirTag in an emergency scenario.
The AirTag is only compatible with Apple devices, and not Android phones, primarily because it works after being linked to the Find My app. The aforementioned app is not available for Android phones and tablets yet – and likely won’t be released in the near future either. However, if you have an Android phone with NFC support, it might offer a very limited – but useful – interaction with the Apple object tracker.
Apple has created a Lost Mode that allows you to find an AirTag that has gone out of range. So if you come across an AirTag out in the wild and happen to own an Android phone with an NFC chip inside, you can just tap the phone on the tracker to open a Lost Mode message. This Lost Mode message will guide you to a website that will show the contact number of the AirTag’s owner so you reach out to them and help them find their lost object tracker, and the item it is attached to.
Moreover, if there is an AirTag that is moving with you and making sounds after being put in Lost Mode by the owner, you can tap your NFC-capable Android phone on it to shush the tracking device after following the on-screen instructions. This will also help you find the necessary information for returning it to the person who lost it in the first place. But to actually silence a lost and beeping AirTag, you have to pop open the cover to disable it, as the latter doubles as the speaker assembly.
With Android compatibility out of the way, let’s talk a bit about colors. Or to put it more accurately, the lack of them. Unlike the iPhone 12 which comes in multiple colors, the AirTags are only available in a bland white color. However, you can get your name or an emoji engraved on them without paying extra.