Eagle-eyed Apple enthusiasts have noticed that the Apple AirTags unveiled at the Spring Loaded event might be even better than we first realized. According to official Apple information (opens in new tab), the tiny lost item trackers are compatible with Android phones through NFC, potentially making it even easier to find your lost items.
Once an Apple AirTag is put into lost mode, iPhones and iPads in its vicinity will pick up its Bluetooth signal and anonymously ping you the item’s location through the Find My app. While Android phones can't yet use the Apple Find My app, they’ll instead be able to use their NFC readers to learn helpful information (like your phone number and the AirTag serial number) to return your lost item to you.
We don’t yet know how this will work in practice - we imagine this will be an optional feature as Apple knows not everyone will want to hand out their number to strangers - though it shows Apple is keen to make the AirTag a formidable force in the tracking world.
Could Find My come to Android?
If you’re looking for a Find My Android phone style app, Google already has you covered. Log into your device’s connected Google account and use Find My Device (opens in new tab) to locate your handset.
Don’t hold your breath for Apple’s Find My app though, we can’t see it coming anytime soon. We’ll have to see how AirTags work in practice, but given how well iPhones sell we’d expect that in many parts of the world there’ll be enough people walking around with one to provide decent coverage for the service.
Apple has brought other services to Android before, like Apple Music, so never say never. But with AirTags lined up to be a huge iPhone selling point, we don’t imagine Apple wants to give up exclusivity yet.