How to Use AirTags with Android

Androids can read and help find lost AirTags

What to Know

  • You can’t set up AirTags using an Android device, but you can use the Tracker Detect app to track an AirTag with Android.
  • To find a lost AirTag with an Android device, install a Bluetooth scanner and look for an unnamed Bluetooth device manufactured by Apple, Inc. 
  • If you find someone else’s AirTag, touch the white side to your phone to see a phone number or message from the owner of the AirTag.

This article explains how to use AirTags with Android devices. AirTags are designed for use with Apple devices and only have full functionality with newer iPhones, but you can use them to a limited degree with Android.

Do Apple AirTags Work With Android?

AirTags are different from other Bluetooth trackers like Tile because they rely on Apple's U1 chip to provide complete functionality. Functionality is limited in iPhones that lack the U1 chip, and it's even more limited in non-Apple devices. You need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to set up AirTags because they require the Find My app that's only available for Apple devices. You also need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to put AirTags into Lost Mode or find your AirTags on a map because both of those functions require the Find My app.

Apple released an Android app called Tracker Detect, which tracks item trackers and works with Apple's Find My network. It won't do so automatically; you have to prompt it to detect trackers.

How to Use AirTags With Android

Since the Find My app isn't available for Android, you can't do much with AirTags and an Android phone.

You can scan for an AirTag using the Tracker Detect app mentioned above. It will check for trackers that are outside the Bluetooth range of the owner's device.

If the app detects an AirTag or other item tracker that's near you for at least ten minutes, you can have it play a sound to help you find it. The app helps find AirTags you've misplaced and detects AirTags that someone might be using to track you.

Open the app and tap Scan—tap Stop Scanning to stop.

Previously, the only way to do that was to install a Bluetooth scanner on your Android phone.

The other way you can use AirTags with Android is to scan a lost AirTag if you happen to find one. It still isn't as robust as it would be if you were using an iPhone, but it does allow you to see the phone number or message that the AirTag owner entered when they put their AirTag into Lost Mode, so it may help you reunite the AirTag, and its connected item, with the owner.

How to Scan For AirTags With Android

The Find My app allows iPhones to scan for AirTags to a high degree of precision if the iPhone has the U1 chip or to a lesser degree of accuracy if it doesn’t have that chip. To scan for AirTags with Android, you need to install a Bluetooth scanner app. With a Bluetooth scanner app, you can look for an unnamed Bluetooth device manufactured by Apple and use the signal strength of that device to locate it.

Here’s how to scan for AirTags with Android:

  1. Use the Find My app on your Mac to get the last known location of your lost AirTag, and go to that location.

    If you’re helping look for someone else’s AirTag, have them give you the location.

  2. Install a Bluetooth scanner app on your phone.

  3. Open the Bluetooth scanner and check the local devices.

    This will show you every nearby Bluetooth device, not just the AirTag.

  4. Look for an unnamed device, and check its details.

  5. Check the manufacturer specific data of the unnamed device for an entry that says Apple, Inc. or displays the Apple logo.

    If the entry doesn't say Apple, Inc., move around the area and try to locate another unnamed entry. AirTags and other Bluetooth Apple devices all say Apple, Inc. in the manufacturer specific data.

  6. Move around in the same general vicinity while observing the signal strength of the device that you suspect may be an AirTag.

    Some Bluetooth scanners include a radar or visualization mode that you can select to help find nearby devices.

  7. The signal strength will grow as you get closer to the AirTag and diminish as you get further away.

    The scanner won't be able to give you a direction, only a rough idea of how far away you are.

  8. Once you locate the AirTag, scan it with the NFC reader in your phone to verify that it's the one you're looking for.

    Reading an AirTag on an Android phone with a Bluetooth scanner app.

How to Scan an AirTag With Android

AirTags are designed to be scanned with any phone that has an NFC reader, so you can scan a lost AirTag with an Android phone.

Here’s how to scan an AirTag with an Android phone:

  1. Tap the white side of the AirTag to your phone.

    Reading an AirTag with an Android phone.
  2. The AirTag must be placed against the NFC reader in your phone. If you can't find the reader, contact the manufacturer of the phone for more information.

    A Pixel 3 Android phone reading an AirTag.

    When the AirTag is successfully read, your phone will provide a popup prompt or just automatically launch a webpage.

  3. If the AirTag has been marked as lost, you’ll be able to see the phone number the owner provided or the message they entered when they put the AirTag into Lost Mode.

    Information about a lost AirTag read by an Android phone.

AirTag Alternatives For Android Users

If you’re primarily an Android user or use a mix of Android and Apple devices, the fact AirTags don’t really work with Android can be an issue. While AirTags work great with Apple devices, functionality is severely limited with Android phones.

Other Bluetooth trackers, like Tile and Galaxy SmartTag, provide better Android integration than AirTag. These alternatives also work just as well with Apple devices as they do with Android, although they lack the Precision Finding feature that you get when you use an AirTag with an iPhone with the U1 chip. If you don’t have a newer iPhone, or you want to use your Bluetooth trackers with a variety of devices, then platform-agnostic options like Tile and Galaxy SmartTag will provide a better experience.

  • What is AirTag?

    AirTag is the name for Apple's small Bluetooth tracking device. You can place these tiny trackers in or on personal items such as keys, purses, and wallets. If you misplace something with an AirTag attached, you can track and locate it with the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad.

  • How do I use AirTags?

    To use Apple AirTags, set them up on another Apple device by logging in to your Apple account. Place the AirTag close to your phone or computer > select Connect > specify what you'll be tracking > confirm your contact information > and choose Done when the set-up process finishes.

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