Can You Use an Apple AirTag as a Pet Tracker?


According to the American Humane Association, approximately 10 million cats and dogs go missing every year in the US. What’s more, less than 25% of lost pets get reunited with their families. Needless to say, one of the most responsible things you can do as pet owner is investing in a reliable pet tracker if you want to get reunited with your lost fur baby.

The AirTag by Apple is marketed as one of the most inexpensive tools for locating valuables, such as keys and wallets. It uses Bluetooth technology and the “Find My” app to help you find your items. The premise is simple: as long as there is an iOS device close to the AirTag, you should be able to track it down with almost pinpoint accuracy.

Considering the AirTag’s effectiveness at finding lost items, many pet owners are wondering whether they could also use it to track down lost pets.

This article will discuss the Apple AirTag’s effectiveness as a pet tracker to help you determine whether it is a pet-tracking solution worth investing in.

What is the Apple AirTag?

The AirTag is a tiny (1.25-inch) device that Apple released in 2021 to help iOS users find lost valuables. Coming in at the size of a quarter, this tracker is quite inconspicuous, allowing you to attach it to a myriad of items and track them without someone else knowing it. However, you will need to invest in an attachment accessory, such as a case, as the AirTag does not come with an adhesive to allow you to attach it to a surface permanently.

However, for larger items such as backpacks or wallets, you do not need an attachment accessory, as you can simply slip the device inside those items.

Needless to say, you will need a special type of attachment for your pet’s collar if you decide to use the AirTag as a pet tracker. More on this later.

How Does the Apple AirTag Track Your Dog or Cat?

Unlike most pet trackers, the AirTag does not use GPS or mobile networks to locate lost pets or items. It also doesn’t use the internet. Instead, it uses ultra-wideband tech, Bluetooth to be specific. This device usually emits Bluetooth signals to iCloud, allowing you to pinpoint its location in real-time.

However, that is not all. AirTags can be detected by any iOS device that has the “Find My” app. That means that when the AirTag sends out the Bluetooth signals, any iOS device nearby will receive the signal and ping the location to your smartphone without the owner even realizing it.

As such, regardless of how far away your pet is from you, as long as there is an iOS device near them, you should be able to locate them. Nonetheless, you will need to put the lost AirTag in lost mode for other iOS gadgets to assist you in looking for your lost AirTag, and thus, pet.

The AirTag also emits a beep sound to help you find its location.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Apple never intended on the AirTag being used as a pet-tracking device. Consequently, it has a few limitations when it comes to this purpose. For starters, you cannot attach it to a dog collar the old-fashioned way; you will need special accessories for that purpose. Most importantly, since the AirTag relies on being in close proximity to iOS devices to work, that means it will be ineffective in the wilderness.

Apple AirTag Features that Make it Suitable for Tracking Pets

Even though the AirTag wasn’t designed for pet tracking specifically, some of its features make it suitable for the role. They include:

Small Size

We all want our pets to be comfortable at all times, the presence of a tracking device notwithstanding. As such, the ideal pet tracker should be small enough to not cause any discomfort when attached to your pet’s collar. Another benefit of a tiny tracker is its inconspicuousness, reducing the chances of an ill-willed individual of finding and getting rid of it.

As mentioned, the Apple AirTag is roughly the size of a quarter; it has a diameter of 1.26 inches, height of 0.3 inches, and weighing in at only 11 grams. This means that both small and large dogs, as well as cats can carry it comfortably in special collars.

Stainless Steel Construction and Water Resistance

Another hallmark of a good pet tracker is its ability to withstand harsh conditions. After all, there’s a good chance that your pet will be out in the open when they go missing. As such, you do not want a tracker that stops working after being exposed to water or runs out of power after a few days.

The AirTag also excels in the durability aspect. This device comes with an IP67 dust and water-resistance certification, meaning it should be able to withstand adverse environmental conditions for a significant period. What’s more, the manufacturer says that the AirTag’s battery can last up to a year, allowing you more time to trace your pet.

Moreover, since the AirTag is made of stainless steel, it should be able to withstand constant chewing from your pet.

Lost Mode

The best pet trackers make it easy for you to track down your pup or kitty. The AirTag takes advantage of the prevalence of iOS users in the United States to help you find your pet. As mentioned, once you have activated “Lost Mode,” the AirTag immediately begins sending out Bluetooth signals. If your pet is near a person with an iOS gadget, their device pings the signal and notifies you of the location of the AirTag.

Once you are in the general location, the “Find My” app will use direction pointers to guide you to the exact location of the pet. What’s more, the AirTag will even emit loud beeps to help you locate it.

Benefits of Using the Apple AirTag as a Pet Tracker

The Apple AirTag’s inherent features come with many benefits that make it a pretty good pet tracker. They include:

1.     Effectiveness

According to Statista, there are more than 116 million iPhone users in the U.S., accounting for nearly 60% of all smartphones in the country. As discussed, the AirTag simply needs to be in close proximity of another iOS device to ping its location to you. As such, considering the tremendous number of iOS gadgets in the United States, there’s a good chance you will track down your fur baby within no time at all.

What’s more, the AirTag also comes with the “Precision Finding” mode that allows you to know the exact distance your pet is from you once you get within range. It also comes with direction markers to guide you to its exact spot.

2.     Ease of Set Up

You do not need a degree in forensics to use an AirTag to track down your cat or dog. Once you purchase your AirTag, simply hold it next to your iOS gadget and sync them. What’s more, you can even give an AirTag a name. That means that if you have several AirTags, you will be able to track each one down individually.

3.     Ideal Size

The AirTag’s small dimensions ensure that it is unobtrusive. As such, your pet will be able to carry it around comfortably without feeling the urge to remove it. Nonetheless, you will need to invest in an appropriate attachment accessory.

4.     Durability and Long Battery Life

Thanks to its stainless-steel construction, an AirTag can take a beating. That means that you do not have to worry about the device not working due to constant harassment from your pet. Moreover, it’s both dust and water resistant, meaning it can endure harsh conditions for extended periods.

Nevertheless, the AirTag’s durability wouldn’t mean much if it came with a mediocre battery. Fortunately, that is not the case, as the AirTag comes with a CR2032 battery that has a lifespan of up to 1 year. But wait, there’s more; the Tag will notify you when the battery is running out of juice, allowing you to replace it. You can get the battery cheaply from any store near you.

All this means that you can rely on the AirTag to do its job as long as it stays on your pet.

5.     Ability to Customize

Apple allows you to put in a request for customization when ordering the AirTag from their website. You can choose to have your pet’s name engraved onto the Tag, or even an emoji of your choice. And the best part? Apple does it for free!

Apple AirTag Reviews

We will be honest with you, the Apple AirTag’s reviews for its use as a pet tracker are somewhat mixed, with some customers saying that there are better devices for the job.

However, one should consider the fact that the AirTag was not designed for pet-tracking purposes. It was made to track objects, such as keys, bags, and wallets. It is only that it’s so good at its job that pet owners found it to be also quite handy at helping them keep tabs on their pets.

The main drawback when it comes to using AirTags as pet trackers is that they are only effective in areas where there are other iOS devices nearby, as they rely on Bluetooth connections to ping their location to you. This means that if your pup gets lost while you are hiking or in any other remote area, the AirTag will be ineffective.

Another commonly cited issue is how difficult it is to attach it to your pet’s collar. Unlike dedicated pet trackers, this device does not come with an official accessory to allow you to hook it to your pet’s collar. As such, losing it is quite easy.

Fortunately, there are numerous third-party companies on Amazon and Etsy that make special attachments and collars to ensure that your pet’s AirTag doesn’t get loose and get lost in the process.

With that said, if you live in an urban area where the chances of someone not having an Apple device are slim, an AirTag should have you covered so long as you also have an appropriate attachment accessory.

Apple AirTag Price

One thing you will love about the AirTag is that it will not break the bank. Unlike most dedicated pet trackers that can cost hundreds of dollars, the AirTag comes in at a budget-friendly $29 a unit. The manufacturer also gives you a discount when you purchase AirTags in bulk, as a pack of four costs $99.

Best Third-Party Attachment Accessories for Apple AirTags

As mentioned, Apple does not design any accessories to facilitate the AirTag’s use as a pet tracker. As such, you will need to find your own.

Fortunately, there are several AirTag dog and cat collars on Amazon and Etsy. When looking for an AirTag collar for your pet, ensure that it is made of a durable material, such as leather to ensure longevity.

Without further ado, here’s our roundup of the best AirTag pet collar accessories on the market today:

1.     Tilixi Protective Case for AirTag Collar Accessory

The Tilixi Protective Case is an excellent choice for many. For starters, the case is designed to hold the AirTag snugly, ensuring it does not get loose. Moreover, the case itself is made of high-quality silicone to ensure long-term use; it is waterproof, washable, and scratch-resistant.

Another thing you will love about this AirTag case is how light it is. Weighing in at only 0.06 ounces, even your kitty will barely notice that the accessory is on their collar.

The Tilixi case is also versatile enough to be clipped onto just about any pet collar and does not detach easily.

Additionally, this case is as cheap as they come. It will set you back only $5. As such, it should not come as a surprise that this AirTag collar accessory is our number one pick.

2.     AWINNER AirTag Case

If you are on a tight budget, the AWINNER AirTag case is worth considering. As you can tell from its name, this case is designed specifically for holding AirTags, meaning you don’t have to worry about your Tag coming loose and getting lost.

This case is also made of silicone, promising you a long lifespan. In addition, its raised edges ensure that your pet can’t get to the AirTag easily and damage the device.

It also comes with a key ring for easy attachment to your pet’s collar. And costing less than $5, the AWINNER is truly one of the best budget-friendly options out there.

3.     HATALKIN Apple AirTag Case

If you do not mind digging a little deeper into your pockets, the HATALKIN Apple AirTag Case is arguably the best AirTag pet collar accessory on the market today.

For starters, it sports an elegant design that adds a touch of class to your pet’s accessories. Nevertheless, despite its aesthetic appeal, this case is as durable as they come. Made of TPU, it is hardy, scratch-resistant, waterproof, shockproof, and environmentally friendly.

Additionally, its unique design allows the HATALKIN AirTag case to be a perfect fit for collars of both small and large dogs, as well as cats.

Needless to say, this case also makes a really nice gift.

Final Thoughts

The Apple AirTag might not be a pet tracker; however, it does an excellent job at it. It is effective, durable, and relatively cheap. However, compared to GPS pet trackers, the AirTag has its limitations as a pet tracker.

That is because AirTags are only effective in areas where iOS devices are prevalent i.e., urban areas. Therefore, if you are constantly off the grid with your pet, you might want to consider a more appropriate pet tracker.

Nonetheless, all factors considered, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get an AirTag for your cat or dog if you live in a typical town or city. Just make sure that you also purchase a good AirTag accessory for your pet’s collar.


  My Dog is a Robot covers the pet technology industry. Keep up with the latest news about products, services and companies in the pet tech space.   Contact Us

Get our Newsletter