Apple customers can use Apple AirTags to track belongings they might lose, such as keys and bags. As long as you have an iPhone, the small trackers might seem like excellent options for protecting valuables and important — but easy to misplace — items. The devices also raise some questions, though. For example, “Can you hide Apple AirTags to track items covertly?”
Since you can hide Apple AirTags, you can potentially use them to protect your belongings from theft. While the trackers have a lot going for them, they probably don’t meet your security needs well.
THE SMALL SIZE MEANS YOU CAN HIDE APPLE AIRTAGS
AirTags have small designs that house the CR2032 batteries that power them. The AirTags available in 2023 measure 0.31 inches (8 mm) high and 1.26 inches (32 mm) across. They weigh a mere 0.39 ounces (11 grams).
Their lightweight and compact design make it relatively easy to hide Apple AirTags in places they won’t get noticed. For example, you could easily hide one:
- In the lining of a jacket, coat, or purse
- Between your car seats
- Inside a lightbulb cover
- Under a bike seat or inside a bike frame
As long as your item can accommodate the AirTag’s size, you can probably find a place to hide one.
CONSIDER OTHER CHALLENGES BEFORE RELYING ON APPLE AIRTAGS
Although it’s pretty easy to hide Apple AirTags, you might face other challenges by relying on them. If you just want to track your keys, they work very well. If you want to track a stolen bike or car, though, some barriers will likely get in the way.
AIRTAGS RELY ON THE FIND MY NETWORK
The small design makes AirTags easy to hide, but it doesn’t leave room for equipment needed to use GPS. Instead, AirTags rely on Apple’s Find My network. Find My takes a creative approach that relies on nearby Apple devices to detect AirTags. If your AirTag is within range (usually 30–70 feet, depending on the iPhone model), the mobile device will note the location, encrypt the data to protect everyone’s privacy, and upload up to the cloud.
While engineers took an interesting approach by developing the Find My network, it won’t work for everyone. If your AirTag isn’t near an iPhone, you can’t track its location. That presents problems for people who don’t live in densely populated urban environments. It also means you might lose contact with your AirTags when thieves don’t own iPhones or know enough to turn off their BlueTooth connections while stealing your items.
IPHONES MIGHT DETECT AIRTAGS
Unfortunately, iPhone users could potentially detect your AirTag, defeating the reason you hide them in valuables. When AirTags try to connect to the Find My network, nearby iPhones might alert their owners.
Imagine this happening when someone with an iPhone steals your car. When they get an alert, they will know you have a tracker in the vehicle. In response, they might turn off their smartphones to avoid detection or stop to find and destroy the AirTag.
GPS OFFERS MORE RELIABLE TRACKING
GPS-enabled units give you a more reliable way to track items no matter where they go. A GPS tracker like the LandAirSea 54 uses a global network of satellites and ground stations to triangulate locations accurately. The technology works practically anywhere, so you can always locate missing items, even in areas with low population density.
Related reading: GPS Units vs. Apple AirTag
AIRTAGS DON’T SEND ALERTS
AirTags offer passive tracking that relies on you to search for their locations. They won’t send you alerts when someone takes them from your property. Again, that might work well enough for someone protecting their personal items. However, organizations need more robust security features that can send them emails and text message alerts.
The Silvercloud app that comes with LAS devices makes it easy for you to create geographic boundaries. When you draw boundaries on the app, Silvercloud will notify you when your GPS tracker crosses a line. That gives you a more proactive way to protect your assets. For example, if someone takes a company vehicle without permission, you could get a text message that lets you know to contact law enforcement immediately. The sooner you reach out to the police, the more likely they can recover your stolen asset.
YOU CAN’T RECHARGE AIRTAG BATTERIES
Apple AirTags use CR2032 batteries that offer at least a year of power. As the battery nears the end of its life, your iPhone will let you know. You can’t recharge the battery, though. You have to buy a replacement.
Luckily, you can find CR2032 batteries easily. The bad news is that a dead battery makes AirTags ineffective. You can hide Apple AirTags in covert places, but they won’t help you track missing items once the batteries die.
It helps that your iPhone lets you know when the battery is close to running out of power. Unfortunately, you still need to access the AirTag to change the battery. What happens when the battery dies while you search for a missing item?
LAS’s GPS trackers help solve that problem. For example, the LAS SYNC plugs directly into a vehicle’s OBD-II port. You never need to worry about its charging or changing its battery. As long as the vehicle has power, so does your GPS tracker.
If you want to track something other than a vehicle, you can use LAS 54 or Overdrive. The Overdrive’s battery can hold a charge for up to 12 months when in “lower power mode.” It can last up to four weeks when communicating its location every 60 seconds. When the power runs low, you can recharge it with a USB cord that plugs into a computer, portable battery, or outlet.
Importantly, the Silvercloud app gives you control over the 54 and Overdrive’s batteries. You can keep the devices in low power mode so the batteries stay charged. When an item goes missing, you can use the app to remotely switch the devices to send you location information in real time.
With LAS devices, you never need to worry about buying new batteries, and you can always adjust how much power your GPS tracker uses as needed.
COMPARING GPS UNITS AND APPLE AIRTAGS
Hiding Apple AirTags is easy because they have such a small size. LAS’s GPS trackers have larger sizes, but they offer benefits that might meet your needs better.
The LAS 54 measures 0.945 inches (24 mm) high and 2.275 inches (57.8 mm) wide. The LAS Overdrive is a little bigger, measuring 1.0 inch (25.4 mm) high and 2.813 inches (71.5 mm) wide. The Overdrive’s larger size makes room for a bigger battery that lasts longer between charges.
While you probably wouldn’t attach LAS trackers to small items like keys and purses, they are small enough to hide in cars, luggage, and other expensive assets.
You can also take creative approaches that make the units very difficult to find. For example, you could hide GPS trackers in a car’s:
- Door panel
- Brake light
- Seat cushion
Few car thieves would think to look in these places. Even when they do, most will wait until they reach a safe place before they go through the car’s interior. That gives you and law enforcement time to track the vehicle’s location before the thieves discover your GPS unit.
OTHER BENEFITS OF LAS GPS TRACKERS
Other reasons you might benefit more from a GPS tracker than an AirTag are that they have:
- A waterproof and dustproof design.
- Internal magnets that connect the device to most metal surfaces.
- Mounts that keep the GPS units in place.
- Secure connections that thieves cannot detect.
Not all GPS devices offer the same features, though. You might want to take a few minutes to compare Garmin and LAS units to decide whether one suits your needs better.
FIND THE RIGHT TRACKER FOR YOUR NEEDS
People and businesses have unique GPS needs, so you should explore as many options as possible to find the right one for you. Get help from LandAirSea by reaching out to Ian Conley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you work in e-commerce shipping, event planning, or anything in between, LAS can help!