Tech specs: Price: $29 or 4 for $99 | Battery life: 1 year | Real-time tracking: No | Monthly cost: None | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple’s Find My Network
Apple’s AirTags are about the size of a quarter, and there are countless accessories you can use to attach the small tracker to a jacket or backpack — or you can even slip it into a pocket. There’s no monthly fee, and the battery lasts around a year — after which you can replace the CR2032 battery.
Apple has tried to make it clear that AirTags are not meant to track pets or children, but it’s only natural to be curious: How well can an AirTag keep track of your kid? In general, an AirTag does an okay job. The problem is that an AirTag requires another Apple device to be nearby and connected to the internet in order for its location to be shared with Apple’s Find My network.
For example, tracking a young child on the school bus requires someone — most likely another student or the bus driver — on the bus to have an iPhone or cellular Apple Watch. If there aren’t any Apple devices on the bus, the location can’t update.
Another potential drawback to AirTags is that you need another Apple device to view the location. That means you’ll need an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for the initial setup, and after that, you can use a Mac to view the AirTag’s location. If you use a Windows or Android device, AirTags just won’t work for you.
An AirTag is better suited for tracking a lost backpack, keys, or another random item that you can be (somewhat) patient about tracking down. The AirTag is arguably the best tracker available for items, period. But for tracking a child, there are better options.