AirTag as animal tracker? Apple advises against it, even if the manufacturer’s explanations are not entirely clear
When Apple introduced AirTag, pet owners jumped at the thought of being able to track their furry wards. Who wouldn’t want a dog or a cat to join the Apple ecosystem? A small diamond appears to be perfect for attaching to a necklace. Accessory manufacturers were busy and the market was flooded with strings and pendants for mounting AirTags on pets. Many photos with locators hanging under the necks of pets have appeared on social networks. All of these actions completely ignore the fact that Apple advises against using AirTag as a pet locator. Why? The Cupertino company does not specify.
No one can stop you from tracking your pet with AirTag, but…
AirTags were designed to track different types of items. You can attach them to your keys, put them in a wallet compartment or put them in a backpack. In this regard, they work quite well (though not always efficiently). So it’s no wonder that many users came up with the idea to track Find network pets easily. The problem is that Apple’s official position clearly states that the device is not intended for this. However, trying to find more detailed information about the reasons for this decision, it turns out that Apple did not provide such data. They are very cautious and conservative in this regard. Using the phrases “I do not recommend” or “disadvised”, on the one hand, helps to wash your hands in case of a messy situation, but on the other hand, it does not discourage you from buying, because the register cash will be correct and the owner of the animal will be responsible, if applicable. The only Apple comment I could find on this was from VP of Marketing Kaiann Dance:
If humans do this, all they need to do is make sure the moving animal is within range of the device on the “Search” network so its location can be tracked.
AirTag does not emit waves which – at least in the current state of knowledge – can be dangerous for the animal. So technically it’s possible, but Apple still doesn’t recommend it. Let’s see why.
The first thing that comes to mind is the average efficiency of such a solution. AirTags use the signal from nearby iPhones. So if the animal runs away from home and heads – as is usually the case with animals – to fields or forests, it will be very difficult to find it. In such a situation, someone would certainly be ready to sue Apple in court and demand damages. After all, losing your beloved dog is much more emotional than losing your backpack or your keys.
The second problem is building a locator. To get inside the AirTag, you just need to slightly twist the plastic casing. Inside is a CR2032 battery (like a watch), which comes out of the device by itself after opening it. Apple may be worried that the curious animal will try to find the locator or swallow it completely, which could put its health at risk. Apple has not prepared any security in this regard and does not produce its “animal” accessories for AirTag. Although external manufacturers offer covers and cases attached to the arc, it cannot be compared to specialized pet locators, which are characterized by a more built structure.
Apple could also consider producing locators dedicated to tracking animals. The procedure on the basis of “we do not encourage, but we also do not prohibit” can aim to examine the area for a new product or an improved generation of AirTag. This would lead directly to the possibility of releasing ridiculously expensive accessories for iPets.
We already know that AirTag is great for locating pets. However, there are plenty of alternatives that have features to make animal tracking safer and more efficient.
What to look for when choosing an animal locator?
It would be pointless to list all brands and models of specialized trackers. There are dozens of them, and the choice often depends on the type of animal. However, let’s focus on what’s important and what AirTag doesn’t have. Let’s start with the fact that Apple’s locator – unlike dedicated trackers – does not use a GPS module. As already mentioned, the location displayed in the Find app is based on the signal from nearby Apple devices. If you live far from major cities, this solution will be totally ineffective. It is worth paying attention to the presence of the SOS button. Specialized locators are equipped with them in case a third party finds a pet. They are synchronized with the application or other types of software, and when pressed, they send an alert with the fastest route to reach the animal. This functionality is provided, for example, by Locon Dog locators.
Construction should be an important criterion. Light enough not to get in the way of the animal, but at the same time durable and closed so that the furry dog cannot get inside. Water resistance is also important. The animal may run away when it rains, roll in a puddle or fall into a river. A frightened dog or cat can move very dynamically. Live monitoring is therefore essential. You can overlook such precision in AirTag, but most animal trackers have data that refreshes every few seconds. For example, this cat collar from Tractive.
So, if you are concerned about the safety of your furry friend, you better avoid the use of AirTag. Since Apple itself does not recommend the use of this product on pets, we can objectively assume that as a manufacturer they know what they are saying. In addition, this solution will never be as effective as dedicated trackers, equipped with many equipment that AirTag does not have. Better attach the white pill with the bitten apple logo to your wallet. It will be more useful to him.
Image from Depositphotos