Price: $29 or 4 for $99 | Battery life: 1 year | Real-time tracking: No | Monthly cost: None | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple’s Find My Network
Apple’s AirTags are about the size of a quarter, and there are countless accessories to attach the small tracker to a jacket, backpack, or even slip it into a pants pocket. There isn’t a monthly fee, and the battery will last around a year — after which you can replace the CR2032 battery.
Apple has tried to make it clear that AirTags are not meant to track pets or children, but it’s only natural to be curious about how well an AirTag does at keeping track of your kid. In general, an AirTag does an okay job. But the problem arises with the fact that an AirTag requires another Apple device to be nearby and connected to the internet in order for its location to be shared with Apple’s Find My network.
For example, tracking a young child on the school bus would require someone — most likely another student or the bus driver — on the bus to have an iPhone or cellular Apple Watch. If there aren’t any Apple devices on the bus, the location isn’t going to be updated.
Another potential drawback to AirTags is that the only way to view their location is to use an Apple device. That means you’ll need an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for the initial setup, and then after that, you can use a Mac to view its location. If you or your partner use a Windows or Android device, AirTags just won’t work for you.
An AirTag is better suited for tracking a lost backpack, keys, or another random item that you can be (somewhat) patient when trying to track it down. The AirTag is arguably the best tracker available for those types of things, period. But for tracking a child, there are better options.