How Accurate Are AirTags Location? (We did the Research)

Marc Ray

by Marc Ray

Last Updated on

How Accurate Are AirTags Location?

Quick Answer

The closer you are to an Apple Airtag, the more precise and accurate its location gets, especially when you are in a radius of 60 feet indoors and 80 feet outdoors. It doesn’t matter if you are searching for the location of your AirTag indoors or outdoors; the “Find My app” will show a precise location, and when you get close to it, the location will just get better.

AirTags are small tracking devices from Apple that can be used to locate lost or stolen items. They use Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to provide precise location tracking.

Since the release of Apple’s AirTags, users have been curious about their location accuracy. To clarify, I have conducted extensive research to analyze its accuracy and real-life scenarios.

Location accuracy is essential for AirTags to be effective in tracking lost items. The more accurate the location information, the easier it will be to find your lost item.

In this guide, I will investigate the precision of AirTag location tracking and provide the results of my research.

How Accurate Are AirTags and How Do They Work?

When it comes to tracking your valuable items, accuracy is crucial.

You want to know that if you lose anything, you can find it again with the help of your AirTag.

The greater the accuracy of the AirTag, the sooner and more efficiently you may find your missing item.

To determine how accurate AirTag is, we must examine its technology thoroughly.

Research has shown that the Apple AirTag provides exact location using Ultra-Wideband, or UWB, technology. You can locate your AirTag within a few feet if you have a device that supports UWB, i.e., iPhone 11 Series and Later.

UWB is a short-range wireless communication technology that can be used to determine the precise location of devices. It works by measuring the time it takes for radio signals to travel between devices.

If you don’t have a UWB device, you can still get close enough to find its exact location.

Spectral density for UWB and narrowband
Spectral density for UWB & Narrowband (Image: FiRa Consortium)

The above graph shows the different types of wireless communication technologies, with UWB highlighted in blue. UWB is a relatively new technology that is becoming increasingly popular for various applications, including indoor positioning and gesture recognition. AirTags use UWB to provide precise location tracking, which can be useful for finding lost items or tracking the movement of people or objects.

We found that the AirTag’s location accuracy depends on various variables, including the Bluetooth connection’s strength and the number of Apple devices close to that AirTag.

The Tech Behind AirTag

Before getting to our experiments to check how accurate the AirTag location is, let me guide you through the AirTag tech thoroughly.

Unlike other tracking devices, the AirTag doesn’t have any GPS installed in it. AirTags mainly use these Bluetooth and a U1 chip.

Apple Airtag U1 Ultra Wideband Chip
Image: Adam Catley

The U1 chip uses Ultra-Wideband technology for precision finding, and the Bluetooth emits a data signal that the nearby Apple devices catch and update the current location of the AirTag to the Apple cloud.

Then, the AirTag owner can see the exact location of the AirTag in their “Find My app” on their iPhones.

The Find My app is a free app from Apple that can be used to track the location of your AirTags and other Apple devices.

It is that simple! Now, let’s get to the experiments we conducted.

How We Tested AirTag Location Accuracy

We tested AirTags in several real-world scenarios to assess their location accuracy. We connected AirTags to keys and wallets and used an iPhone’s Find My app to track their whereabouts.

Test the AirTag Location Accuracy with Wallets and Keys

We conducted these tests in indoor and outdoor locations to see how well they could locate them. We also assessed how well they performed in crowded and less crowded areas.

To ensure accurate results, we used high-quality GPS tracking devices as a benchmark for comparison.

These devices have been extensively tested and proven to provide reliable location data.

Additionally, we used multiple iPhones updated to the latest iOS version to ensure compatibility and accuracy with the AirTags.

Doing so allowed us to compare the location data provided by the AirTags with the GPS tracking devices.

AirTag Location Accuracy Indoor Testing

After extensive testing, we found that AirTags provide reasonably accurate indoor location tracking.

AirTags consistently pinpointed the location of tagged items within a few meters in controlled environments such as homes or offices.

Here are the exact results of the Tests we conducted:

AirTag indoor location accuracy: How far can it go?
AirTag indoor location accuracy: How far can it go?
Test ConditionRange (Meters)Range (Feet)
No Barriers20+60+
Glass Barriers15+50+
Dry Walls15+50+
Inside Wardrobe620
Hard Concrete Walls310

We’ve come across an insightful video by the ‘Tech & Travel’ channel where they carried out 9 diverse indoor and outdoor tests to evaluate the range and accuracy of AirTags. Check out their findings in the video to delve deeper into the question: ‘How Accurate Are AirTags Locations?’

Factors that Can Affect AirTag Location Accuracy Indoors

While AirTags generally perform well indoors, certain factors may impact their accuracy.

Knowing the factors that can affect the accuracy of AirTags can help you understand when to expect the most precise location tracking.

Thick walls, large furniture, and other objects that obstruct the signal between the AirTag and the user’s device can reduce the precision of location tracking. (Unless you are using “Play Sound” to find the exact location of the device.)

Factors that may Affect Airtags' Indoor Location Accuracy

Additionally, if the AirTag is placed inside a metal container or near electronic devices that emit electromagnetic interference, it may affect its ability to provide accurate location information.

For quick fixes and explanations regarding AirTag beeping, check out our article: AirTag Beeping: Quick Fixes and Explanations.

AirTag Location Accuracy Outdoor Testing

AirTags are not waterproof. This is an important factor to consider if you are planning to use AirTags to track items that may be exposed to water.

After several tests, we found that AirTags provide accurate outdoor location tracking.

In outdoor areas with hundreds of Apple devices passing by, the AirTags consistently pinpointed the location of our test objects from kilometers away. (As long as there is someone with an Apple device passing nearby.)

AirTag Location Accuracy Outdoor Testing

The UWB technology allows tracking the AirTag from a distance of up to 25 meters or 80 feet in an open field and up to 15 meters or 50 feet when buildings are nearby.

This level of accuracy is highly reliable and ensures that you can quickly locate your belongings outdoors.

Factors that Can Affect AirTag Location Accuracy Outdoors

Just like the indoors, a few factors can influence the accuracy of an AirTag outdoors.

These include buildings or structures that obstruct Bluetooth signals from reaching other Apple devices, dense foliage, or trees.

Factors that may Affect Outdoor Location Accuracy

Sometimes, the absence of any Apple device can make it worse!

It’s important to note that AirTags relies on Bluetooth technology to connect with nearby Apple devices for more precise location tracking.

The more nearby Apple devices there are, the more accurate the location tracking of AirTags will be.

Therefore, if your lost item is outside the range of any Apple devices, it may reduce the accuracy.

Comparison of AirTags Accuracy in Cities vs. Countryside

In urban environments with tall buildings and crowded streets, AirTags tend to perform well. The high concentration of nearby devices helps improve location accuracy.

In rural or countryside areas with fewer WiFi signals and Bluetooth devices, AirTags may experience slightly lower accuracy.

Rural areas typically have fewer Apple devices, which can reduce the accuracy of AirTags location tracking.

AirTags thrive in bustling cities, benefiting from abundant nearby devices for pinpoint accuracy, while their performance in rural settings may see a slight dip due to fewer signals.

The lack of dense infrastructure can limit the number of data points for location tracking. Nonetheless, AirTags still provide reliable tracking capabilities in these areas.

Real-Life Examples of AirTags Locating Lost Items

Real-life scenarios have demonstrated the effectiveness of AirTags in locating lost items.

In cases where AirTags are detected near you, it’s essential to understand what it means and what to do, which is explained in another informative article.

For example, many AirTag users have successfully tracked their lost luggage at airports, finding them quickly with the help of AirTags. Similarly, misplaced car keys and wallets have been easily located using the Find My app and AirTags.

According to 9to5Mac, an Australian photographer used an AirTag to recover $7000 worth of gear, which was stolen from his car while traveling.

In another case, a man recovered his stolen bike, and the burglar was arrested! All thanks to Apple’s Airtag. (9News)

Here is a great video that shows a man who got his bike stolen and then recovered it using the “Find My” app and AirTag.

These are just a few cases showing how powerful and unique this tiny device is and how it can help us recover lost or stolen goods.

Factors that can Influence the AirTag Location Accuracy

If you encounter connectivity issues like AirTag Not Reachable, where your AirTag isn’t connecting as expected, you can follow our guide for quick solutions.

You can easily track your AirTag from a distance of miles away or even in a different country, provided it is within Bluetooth range of an Apple device. But there are a few factors that can influence its accuracy:

Factors that can Influence the AirTag Location Accuracy
  • Distance (While using UWB): The first is the distance between the AirTag and the user’s device. As the distance increases, the signal strength weakens, potentially impacting location accuracy.
  • Number of Apple Devices: Another major factor is the number of nearby Apple devices: The fewer Apple devices nearby, the less precise the AirTag’s location accuracy will be.
  • Environmental Situations: The AirTag’s location tracking accuracy can also be affected by environmental factors such as weather conditions and interference from other signals.
  • Barriers: AirTags use ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to communicate with your device and determine its location indoors. This technology is imperfect and can be affected by physical barriers such as walls and other obstructions.
  • AirTag Battery Life: Lastly, the battery life of your AirTag can also affect its accuracy. The lower the battery, the less precise location it will emit.

Another thing you must know is you can only track a wide location on the Find My app, but to get the exact location inside an apartment building, you will need to use an iPhone 11 or later with the precision tracking feature enabled.

Besides that, you will have difficulty finding it inside an apartment building because even the smallest barriers, such as walls or doors, can weaken the UWB signals.

Concluding Thoughts on AirTag Accuracy

AirTags have been found to be generally accurate in tracking the location of your belongings.

With the help of Apple’s vast network of devices, the Find My app provides real-time location updates and precise directions to help you locate your lost items.

However, it is essential to note that various factors can influence the accuracy of AirTags’ location tracking. The signal strength between the AirTag and your iPhone and any obstacles or interference in the environment can affect the accuracy of the location information.

To ensure your AirTags’ accuracy, I recommended keeping your iPhone nearby and within range of the AirTag.

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About the author

Marc Ray

Marc Ray

Marc Ray, Founder of Domotics101.com. A tech enthusiast & expert in smart home technology, helping homeowners upgrade their homes with the latest smart home security & automation solutions. Marc has over 10 years of experience in smart home technology. He holds a certification in Home Automation Systems and has been featured in Hubspot. You can learn more about Marc and his work. Read his Book, Smart Home Hacks!

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