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Here's how Android users with NFC can help Apple friends find lost things

If you ever stumble across a lost AirTag, you can help find its owner.

Published onApril 21, 2021

apple airtag accessories 1
  • Android devices can interact with Apple’s AirTag, according to a new support document.
  • The device tracker has a “Lost Mode” that displays a message with the owners’ details.
  • This info can be read by any smartphone using NFC.

Yesterday, Apple hosted a rare April event that saw new iPads, refreshed Macs, and 4K Apple TVs debut. However, one completely new device that was largely overshadowed was the AirTag. While Apple’s device tracker will work exclusively within its ecosystem, Android users can help track down their Apple friends’ lost devices and valuables.

According to a new support document (via Apple Insider), the AirTag has a “Lost Mode” function that broadcasts a message via NFC. The message, which may include the owner’s personal information, can be read by any device with NFC support, including Android smartphones.

The feature only activates when a user places the device in Lost Mode, though. But Apple including NFC support alongside its ultra-wideband (UWB) and Bluetooth smarts makes loads of sense. Although NFC is not quite ubiquitous, it’s widely available on smartphones on multiple platforms. This should also improve the chances of Apple users reclaiming their products.

How to read AirTag info with an Android smartphone

If you do come into contact with a misplaced AirTag, here’s how you can read it:

  • Tap and hold the white side of the AirTag to your Android phone.
  • Tap on the notification, which will take you to a website displaying the AirTag’s info.
  • If the product was marked as “lost,” you’ll see a message with the owner’s personal details.

It’s still more likely that Apple users would employ the Find My service to scout their lost AirTag. But if you do stumble across a lost tracker, you could make an Apple user’s day.

The AirTag will go on general sale in the US from April 30, starting at $29 for one or $99 for a pack of four. For Android users, some alternatives include Samsung’s recently launched SmartTag and SmartTag Plus duo, and the venerable Tile series.

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