AirTags allow you to track easily lost items, including remotes and even dogs and kids. In theory, they sound amazing, but in practice, there are some limitations that you need to be familiar with.
Here’s everything you need to know about using AirTags with your family.
Can You Share AirTags with Family Members?
Many people wonder if they can share their AirTags with family members or close friends. After all, Apple offers a Family Sharing service that lets you share numerous services with other people, including iCloud storage, Apple Music, Apple TV+, App Store purchases and more. Furthermore, similar devices — including AirTag’s main competitor, Tile trackers — offer the ability to share the location of a tracker with other people via an app.
Given all this information, it seems like a no-brainer that you should be able to share the location of a single AirTag among multiple family members, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
AirTags can only be tracked by whoever has the tag registered to their Apple account. This means that if you put an AirTag keychain on a set of keys that the entire household shares, only one person will be able to track the keys’ location if they go missing. It also means that if you want to transfer ownership of an AirTag to someone else, you will need to remove the AirTag from your Apple account and potentially reset it as well before they can set it up as a new AirTag on their account.
There’s nothing in the AirTag hardware that prevents them from being tracked by more than one person. This is a deliberate limitation of the software. Apple hasn’t given an official statement as to why AirTags can only be tracked by one person, but given Apple’s strong stance on privacy, it probably has something to do with that. Apple could potentially add Family Sharing to AirTags at some point with an update, but the company has given no indications that it plans to do so. That won’t keep users from complaining about the lack of sharing, however.
Lending an AirTagged Item to Family Members
Given the limitations of the AirTags, there is a high chance that someone in your family will need to use an item that is attached to an AirTag case that isn’t assigned to their Apple account. So what can they expect when using this AirTagged item?
For starters, they might get an alert on their phone that an unknown AirTag is following them. These alert notifications can use several different phrases, including “AirTag Detected,” “Unknown Accessory Detected Near You” or “AirTag Found Moving With You.” Apple has designed these alerts to notify iPhone users that they might be being tracked without their knowledge. In this case, the family member is getting the alert because the tag is assigned to someone else’s Apple ID.
If the alerts really bother them, they can disable them by opening the Find My app, choosing the “Me” tab at the bottom and turning the “Item Safety Alerts” toggle to “off.” Keep in mind that this will disable notifications for all devices that might be following them, not just this single AirTag. Learn more about how to tell if you are being tracked by a suspicious AirTag and what to do about it in this guide from WIRED. Since Bluetooth tracking is becoming more sophisticated, you should definitely educate your kids and other family members about how to keep themselves safe from tracking devices.
Other Ways to Use AirTags with Your Family
At this point, you may be wondering if there is any benefit to using AirTags on family items since the location can only be seen by one person. If you want that function, you’ll have to go with a competitor product, like Tile, but AirTags can still be really helpful for tracking down commonly lost items in your household, including keys, remotes, gym bags and more. There are even Airtag dog collar cases for your pooch and AirTag bracelets for your kids (super helpful for those days when you visit an amusement park or other places where kids can be out of sight in the blink of an eye).
In these cases, we recommend pairing the AirTag(s) with the phone of the parent who is most accessible and always has their smartphone on them. That way, if something goes missing, there is a good chance they will be able to pick up their phone and go to the Find My app to track down the AirTag in short order. Remember that you can always switch whoever’s Apple ID is paired with a particular AirTag if you need to.
How to Track Your Family Using Family Sharing
If your kids are old enough to have their own phones, you can skip the AirTags and follow their location using Family Sharing. To activate this, go to Settings and then select Your Name > Family Sharing > Location Sharing. On the Location Sharing screen, toggle “Share My Location” to “on.” Make sure that “This Device” is selected for the “My Location” option. Tap each name of the person in your family who you want to share your location with and select “Share My Location.”
Even if you do not have Family Sharing set up, you can share your location with individual people. To activate this, go to Settings and then select Your Name > Find My and toggle “Share My Location” to “on.” Make sure that “Find My iPhone” is on and that “This Device” is selected for the “My Location” option. Then, go to Contacts and find the contact card for the person you want to share your location with. Tap the “Share My Location” option and select whether you want to share it indefinitely, share it until the end of the day or share it for one hour.
We hope that answers everything you wanted to know about sharing an AirTag with your family!