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How to connect an AirTag without the pull tab

Don't worry, you can use an AirTag without a pull tab.

Published onOctober 21, 2023

Are you trying to connect an AirTag without the pull tab? If you don’t have this pull tab, it likely means the device has been set up in the past. You probably bought it used, or someone handed it down to you. Whatever the case may be, all the tab does is block the battery contact. You can still use an Apple AirTag without it. Let’s show you how.


To connect an AirTag without the pull tab, you'll first need to ensure it's not linked to another Apple ID. If it is, the previous owner must remove it from his account. If the owner isn't physically around the AirTag when he does this, you will also need to factory reset the tracker. Then, you can set up the AirTag just as you would if it was new. Keep reading for all the specific instructions.


Editor’s note: We used an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17 to develop these instructions. Some steps may be different if you use other devices or software versions.

How to connect an Apple AirTag without the pull tab

Apple AirTag in backpack

You can connect an Airtag without the pull tab to a new device. You must first take care of a couple of things, though. An AirTag can’t be set up if it is linked to another Apple ID. This is a feature, and is meant to avoid theft of the accessory.

If the previous owner didn’t remove the AirTag from his Apple account, you will have to ask him to do so. Otherwise, the AirTag will be unusable. Not even a factory reset will help you.

It’s also important to remember that AirTags aren’t connected to the internet. This means the accessory cannot know it was unlinked from the previous account unless the iPhone or iPad is close to it. If the AirTag’s previous owner removed the AirTag remotely, you will need to factory reset the AirTag. Then, you can go through the setup process with your iPhone or iPad.

Are you ready to connect an Apple AirTag without the pull tab? Let’s show you how to unpair it from the previous account. You can send this article to the previous AirTag owner if he doesn’t know how to do this. We’ll also show you how to factory reset the accessory, just in case you need to.

How to unpair an AirTag

You’ll need to go through this process to unlink an AirTag from your Apple ID account.

  1. On your iPhone, launch the Find My app.
  2. Go into the Items tab.
  3. Tap on the AirTag you want to unpair from your account.
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom and hit Remove Item.
  5. Confirm by hitting Remove again.

How to factory reset an AirTag

Again, if the device used to unpair an AirTag from the previous owner’s Apple ID isn’t around the AirTag, you’ll need to factory reset the tracker.

  1. Locate the battery cover. It is the AirTag’s shiny steel part.
  2. Press down on the battery cover and turn it counterclockwise until it can no longer turn.
  3. Remove the cover, then also remove the battery.
  4. Put the battery back in and press down until you hear a sound.
  5. Pull the battery out, put it back in, and wait for the sound. This is a total of four more times. So, five times total.
  6. The fifth sound should be different. This will indicate the factory reset has been successful and the AirTag is ready to pair to a new device.
  7. Put the battery cover back in. To do this, align the tabs on the cover with the gaps on the AirTag, press down, and rotate clockwise.

Now you’re ready to set up your AirTag! If you need some help doing this, we have a dedicated guide for setting up and using an Apple AirTag.


No. Setting up an AirTag is impossible if it is linked to another person’s ID. The previous owner must remove it from their Apple ID first.

No. If an Apple AirTag is linked to an Apple ID account, you will not be able to set it up, even if you factory reset the tracker. It needs to be removed from the previous Apple ID account first. This is a security feature meant to avoid theft.

All the AirTag pull tab does is block the battery’s contacts to keep it off. This is so that the AirTag doesn’t waste energy before being purchased. You don’t need it to set up an AirTag.

It used to be possible to check how much battery an AirTag has. Now, you can only see if it has a low battery or not. You can learn more about this in our dedicated post on how to check AirTag battery life.

Not really. AirTags only work as intended with Apple devices. Android devices can use the Tracker Detect app to locate AirTags within their vicinity, but that is where the functionality ends. Learn more about this in our dedicated post on what you can do with an AirTag using Android.