iOS 14.3 beta has hidden references to Apple's upcoming AirTags tech

iPhone 12 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

We're still patiently waiting for Apple to unveil its AirTags trackers after loads of rumors, but new code spotted in the iOS 14.3 beta suggests that they might finally be about to make a public appearance.

As spotted by 9to5Mac, the latest iPhone software has several references to AirTags included in it, including videos and images that help guide users through the process of setting up their new AirTags.

There's also mention of the codename 'Hawkeye' – which is thought to refer not just to the AirTags, but also other tracking accessories such as Tile trackers (Apple has promised these third-party devices will soon be supported in the Find My app).

According to the code that's been discovered, users will be encouraged to attach AirTags to bags, suitcases, key chains and other objects to keep them from getting lost. AirTags will be able to be linked to Apple IDs, and can work 'offline' via a Bluetooth connection.

AirTags, you're it

If you're completely new to the concept of AirTags, these rumored Apple devices will work very much like the Tile trackers on the market right now – you fix them to your possessions so that you can track their locations through the Find My app for iPhone and macOS.

The same Find My app can already be used to hunt down your iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, AirPods, MacBooks and even your Apple contacts if you need to find them. You can even get your devices to play a sound to check if they've fallen down the sofa.

If your gadgets aren't connected to the internet and therefore aren't able to report their position, the devices of other Apple users are anonymously enlisted to look for the missing hardware via Bluetooth pings. It sounds as though AirTags will work in the same way.

Let's hope the mentions of AirTags in iOS 14.3 beta mean that the trackers are now finally close to a launch – we thought that we would see them in June, and then in November, but now they're being tipped to show up in March 2021.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.