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How to factory reset your Apple AirTag

Getting back to zero is tedious if you want to do it manually.
By

Published onDecember 19, 2023

While AirTags are built to be convenient for pairing and tracking, it’s deliberately tough to perform a factory reset on one — you wouldn’t want a thief to be able to do it in seconds, after all. For that reason, if you’re giving an AirTag away or just trying to troubleshoot, it’s usually best to just unpair it from your Apple ID while you still have it handy. In this guide, we’ll show you how to both unpair and reset.

QUICK ANSWER

To factory reset an AirTag:

  1. Press down on the battery cover and rotate counterclockwise until you can remove it.
  2. Take the battery out, then press it back in, pushing down until you hear a sound indicating the battery is connected.
  3. Repeat the second step four more times, making sure you hear a tone each time. The fifth sound should be different, meaning the AirTag is ready to pair again.

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to unpair an AirTag from an iPhone or iPad

Simply unpairing an AirTag from your Apple ID is easy, so long as it’s within Bluetooth range of your iPhone or iPad.

  • Make sure your iPhone or iPad has Bluetooth on, as well as an active internet connection.
  • Launch the Apple Find My app, then open the Items tab.
  • Select the AirTag you want to remove.
  • Swipe up on the top “handle” in the onscreen panel.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of that panel and tap Remove Item.

With this done, you (or someone else) will need to repeat the pairing process to use the AirTag again.

How to factory reset your AirTag

Apple AirTag in hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Typically, the only legitimate reasons to reset an AirTag are if someone gave you one but forgot to unpair it, or a stalker deliberately planted one on you without your consent. It’s rare that a reset will help with troubleshooting. If you do need to take the reset route, here’s what to do:

  • Remove the steel battery cover by pressing down on it and turning counterclockwise. When it stops rotating, you can pull it off.
  • Remove the battery, then put it back in. This might be a good time to pop in a fresh one instead.
  • Press down on the battery (new or old) until you hear a tone. This tells you that the battery is connected.
  • Repeat the removal and replacement process four more times, making sure you hear a sound each time.
  • The fifth sound should be different — if you hear it, that means the AirTag is ready to pair and set up again.