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Do AirTags work with Android? Here's what you need to know

There are other alternatives to consider.
By
December 22, 2023

Bluetooth trackers like the Apple AirTag are an excellent way to keep track of things you might lose easily or don’t want to misplace — your keys, wallet, backpack, luggage, and more. It’s an Apple product, so it’s no surprise that AirTags are already one of the most popular trackers you can get, despite only being released in 2021. But do AirTags work with Android? Here’s everything you need to know.

QUICK ANSWER

Yes and no, actually. You can't use AirTags as fully intended on Android, so there's no reason to buy one for your own use. That said, it is possible to scan for AirTags around and Android will automatically detect nearby ones to ensure you're not being tracked without your consent. If you're worried about someone using an AirTag to track you, Apple has released the Tracker Detect app on the Play Store.


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Can you use AirTags with Android?

Apple AirTag with Find My software
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Unfortunately, AirTags do not work with Android, at least in the way it was intended. While AirTags use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with your smartphone, like other smart trackers, it relies on Apple’s Find My network to provide an accurate location. The AirTag doesn’t only send out a signal to your iPhone but to every iPhone nearby. The other phones also upload your tag’s location to the cloud, letting you see its last known location. If you lose something with an AirTag attached, Apple uses this Find My network to provide accurate location info.

iPhones with the U1 Ultra Wideband chip get even more precision, with location guidance accuracy down to inches. The iPhone 11 and newer, except the SE models, come with the U1 chip.

Apple is trying to fix some security concerns around AirTags, and that’s where the Android app comes in. While you can’t use AirTags on Android to track it, the Tracker Detect on the Google Play Store can scan for AirTags near you. You can use the app if you’re suspicious that someone is using an AirTag to track you.

Is there an Android equivalent to AirTags?

Even though AirTags don’t work with Android, excellent alternatives are available. The first is a first-party option from Samsung that works only with Galaxy smartphones, like AirTags and Apple devices. Tile makes some of the best Bluetooth trackers that work with all Android smartphones and Apple devices and is an excellent choice if you want to avoid getting locked into an ecosystem.

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag on table next to phone 31
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus are trackers that work exclusively with Samsung smartphones as long as they run Android 8.0 Oreo and have at least 2GB of RAM. Like the AirTag uses Apple’s Find My network, the SmartTags use the Galaxy Find network. It’s understandably accurate because of how many people own Samsung smartphones, so finding the SmartTag shouldn’t be difficult, especially with its range of 390 feet.

The SmarTag Plus steps things up with ultra-wideband and uses AR to find the exact location of the tracker within a few inches. However, you can only use this feature with Samsung phones that support UWB, which includes newer Samsung flagships and going back to the Galaxy S21 Plus, S21 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and the Galaxy Z Fold 2. If you don’t have a Samsung flagship, you’re better off getting the cheaper SmartTags instead.

 

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Samsung Galaxy SmartTag
Samsung Galaxy SmartTag
Super portable
Long battery life
Vast tracking network

Tile

Tile has been the go-to brand for Bluetooth trackers for a long time and is the best choice if you don’t want to be locked into a particular ecosystem. All Tile products support Android, iOS, and even some smart speakers. There are many options to choose from, depending on what you’re trying to track. The Tile Slim can slot into a wallet card slot, the Tile Sticker can be stuck on any even surface, and the Tile Mate is a good basic tracker.

But the Tile Pro is the best of the lot, with features similar to the AirTag and SmartTag. It comes with a 400-foot range and uses Tiles robust network to track the device outside Bluetooth. You can also opt for a premium subscription to add features like 30-day location history, smart alerts, and item insurance up to $1,000 (with the more expensive Premium Protect plan). The Tile Pro is pricier than some alternatives and has a running cost if you get a subscription. However, it’s one of the best if you need cross-platform integration.

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Tile Pro
9%off
Tile Pro
Sturdy design
Operating system flexibility
Simple button controls
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Tile Mate (2022)
23%off
Tile Mate (2022)
Three-year battery life
Scannable QR code
IP67 rating
Looking for more options? Check out our guide to the best Apple AirTag alternatives.