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AirTag not showing up in Find My? Here's how you can try to fix it

Things could be out of your hands, but not necessarily.
By
December 21, 2023

While the issue is mercifully rare, it’s certainly possible for an AirTag to fail to show up in your iPhone or iPad’s Find My app. If that’s what you’re coping with at the moment, here’s what’s probably going on, and what you might be able to do to fix it — within reason. We’ll explain that comment below.

How to fix an AirTag not showing up in Find My

Apple Find My logo on smartphone next to AirTag Stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The first thing to say is that realistically speaking, if your AirTag isn’t in your possession, there’s aren’t many options available. Some of the following steps involving your iPhone or iPad could help, but there’s no way to remotely access the software on an AirTag. It could be that someone found yours and performed a hardware reset. If that’s the situation, the AirTag is effectively gone forever, which is a deliberate move on Apple’s part. It protects people from stalking, and under nicer circumstances, it’s easy to forget a software reset when giving an AirTag to someone else.

Follow these troubleshooting steps:

  • Check if you can still see other items in Find My. This is a purely diagnostic step, but if other items (especially AirTags) are showing up in the Find My app, it means the problem is likely with the specific AirTag you’re concerned about, nor your iPhone or iPad.
  • Check location data settings for Find My. It could be that at some point, perhaps for security reasons, you reduced or cut off Find My’s access to location info. On your iPhone or iPad, navigate to Settings > Privacy and Security > Location Services. Flip the Location Services toggle if it isn’t already on. Next, scroll down to select Find My. Within that menu, choose While Using the App, and make sure Precise Location is toggled on.
  • Update iOS or iPadOS if a new version is available. Bugs happen, so however improbable it might be, there’s a small chance that a glitch is affecting something AirTags rely on. Unfortunately, unlike Android, it’s impossible to update individual components of iOS or iPadOS — you have to update the entire operating system. Read the linked guide to learn how.
  • Restart your iPhone or iPad. Speaking of bugs, there could be some temporary hardware or software problem that will disappear with a reboot. The action forces your device to reload all its caches and processes from scratch.
  • If you still have your AirTag, trying changing its battery. The CR2032 coin batteries used by AirTags should last about a year, give or take, but once one runs out, the matching AirTag is going to vanish from Find My. At best you’ll be able to see its last known location. Check out our guide for replacing an AirTag battery.
  • Try performing a hardware reset of your AirTag. There’s not much harm in this except that you’ll have to set up your AirTag again as if it were new. The reset process is also non-intuitive and a little time-consuming, since it’s meant to slow down thieves. You may want to use this opportunity to pop in a new battery if your old one was near the end of its lifespan.
  • Reset your iPhone or iPad’s location and privacy settings. This step should be treated as a last resort, since you’ll have to reconfigure any changes you’ve made since you first bought your device. If nothing else has worked so far, however, you can get started by going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad. Tap Reset at the bottom of the screen, then Reset Location and Privacy.