5 Apple AirTag tips to keep your stuff safe when you travel

The holiday season is upon us. Schools are getting ready to end for the year and even the Scroogiest offices are getting ready to close up shop for the long holiday weekend. This means that airports and roads will soon be jammed with passengers.

Which also means bag thieves will be on the lookout too.

The easiest way to make sure you and your stuff stay together or get reunited is with Apple AirTags. These handy little locator tags integrate easily into iOS and are extremely easy to use. Enable them, then paste them into whatever you want to track.

AirTags are nothing new at this point. In fact, you probably already have a few: attached to key rings, maybe tucked into a backpack pocket. But here are a few tips I’ve adopted over the past few years to ensure they’re always ready and running when I need them.

Add AirTags to Everything

There was a time when this was a ridiculous offer, but now there are regular deals where you can pick up a 4-pack of AirTags for less than $80. At $20 per device, it makes perfect sense to put the AirTag in your backpack or purse, in your carry-on, in your checked baggage, even in your toiletry bag.

Just make sure you label them well when setting them up. I will admit that I have three AirTags called “Anthony’s Luggage”. To figure out which is which, I have to activate each one. Which brings me to my next tip.

Check if they work

Even if you’ve had AirTags for a while, you’ll want to open the Find My app and go to the Items tab. There you’ll see all the AirTags you’ve linked to your Apple ID. If they are currently functional, they should update their location in a few seconds.

However, if the battery dies, they won’t report a location at all (or will show their last location before turning off). You will need to find these AirTags and re-enable them. And since you now have a new battery pack…

Replace the batteries anyway

Maybe not if you’ve just activated your AirTags, but regularly putting new batteries in your AirTags is a good way to ensure they work properly when you’re away from home (and can’t easily replace them).

Apple had a battery life indicator in the AirTag menu, but removed it in iOS 15.6. Now you will only get a low battery indicator message along with an icon in the AirTag menu in the Find My app. Both are easy to miss (which is why I have two bags that don’t report location).

It’s an easy process to replace your AirTag batteries. So instead of being unpleasantly surprised down the road, do it while thinking about it.

Do a trial run

Did you change the batteries and label your bags correctly? Awesome! Now is the fun part. Activate each one and get used to finding them. Stick your bag on the other side of the house and click Play sound or button I find button if you want your iPhone to guide you to your “lost” bag.

Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the other options in the AirTag menu, such as enabling Lost Mode—which allows you to add a message to your AirTag information in case someone finds it and checks it. Which is asking a lot, since most people don’t know that you can identify an AirTag you find with the Find My app… but there’s always hope that it will fall into the hands of someone tech-savvy.

Upgrade your bags

I know you’re rolling your eyes, but hear me out. An AirTag tucked into a sock in your shoe in your bag isn’t doing anyone any favors, least of all you. You lose track of where you put them at best, and at worst you bury them so far in your luggage that it barely gets a signal.

What you need is a bag with a dedicated AirTag pocket on the right that is tucked away but also easy to access and that doesn’t interfere with her signal. Some companies have a dedicated AirTag window… but that just gives thieves a convenient place to target when they want to disable your tracker.

My favorite new bags are from Ridge, mainly because they have a very clear space on both their carry-on and backpack for your AirTag. Plus, they come in the hottest orange you’ve ever seen. You will have to actively work to lose these bags.

Plus, they have some really nice features. The Commuter carry-on and backpack are weatherproof and waterproof, made of tough polycarbonate and ballistic nylon, respectively. The Carry-on has tons of room, with a telescoping handle and smooth-rolling wheels. The Commuter backpack has padded pockets for your gear as well as a hidden RFID blocking pocket.

Both bags have hidden pockets just for tracking devices like Apple AirTags (by the way, I just discovered that my favorite Mous backpack has one too…forgot to mention it in the review). Just make sure you tear off the tear tags that mark them. There are other nice features in the Commuter backpack, especially like a removable inner shelf and two-way access so you can access the main compartment from the top or front.

Both are also available in Base Camp Orange, a pleasingly vibrant tone that will ensure you can pick out your bag in a sea of ​​black and silver luggage. They currently sell as a set for $430. Ridge also has packing cubes, matching toiletry bags, and tons of other EDC accessories (like their metal wallets).

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