Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Technology
Reload this Page >

Apple Air Tags (Consolidated Threads)

Apple Air Tags (Consolidated Threads)

Old Jun 12, 2021, 10:07 am
  #256  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 102,095
Originally Posted by potfish
You can know an AirTag's location because they ping any nearby iPhones via Bluetooth and those iPhones are reporting their own location and the AirTag's ID back to Apple (all with suitable privacy measures, they say). So "moving" surely means detecting that it has pinged an iPhone that is further away from it's last known location than its Bluetooth range. So if it is in a moving vehicle or moving boat then it's moving. If the boat is docked then it is not moving even if the boat is rocking. I would be very surprised if Apple added the cost of a motion sensor to the AirTag.
The docked boat may still be an issue with some movement. The set of Apple devices around the AirTag may not be constant; and if the tracking devices go into a sort of sleep mode or off and then come back on, things can happen with their connectivity that may lead to a recognition of motion anyway since the AirTag tracker position is based on what the positioning looks like for the Apple devices that come across it. I would guess that even some of the settings for the Apple devices could be a factor with positioning info at times, even with all the GPS chips out there in Apple devices.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Jun 12, 2021, 10:38 am
  #257  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: BOS
Programs: Sometimes BA, sometimes AA
Posts: 663
Originally Posted by GUWonder
The docked boat may still be an issue with some movement. The set of Apple devices around the AirTag may not be constant; and if the tracking devices go into a sort of sleep mode or off and then come back on, things can happen with their connectivity that may lead to a recognition of motion anyway since the AirTag tracker position is based on what the positioning looks like for the Apple devices that come across it. I would guess that even some of the settings for the Apple devices could be a factor with positioning info at times, even with all the GPS chips out there in Apple devices.
I don't get your point. If an AirTag sleeps and wakes to find new iPhones, those new iPhones still report roughly the same location as the old ones did. There will need to be some kind of radius within which it does not flag movement but if the iPhones' locations are half a mile apart then you know the AirTag must have moved.

One can opt their iPhone out of sharing this data but there are plenty enough around. If no devices are seen for a while, it just means the location data is older.

When you look for your own AirTags it shows their approximate location on a map and the time that the location was last updated. In my experience (wife's bike parked in a section of her work's parking lot where not many cars pass) this can be just a few minutes or a couple of hours old, but it's usually more recent data than could possibly have come from her own phone. The location does move as the detecting iPhones are reporting their own location rather than the AirTag's, but it's a pretty small radius - tens of yards rather than hundreds.
potfish is offline  
Old Jun 13, 2021, 8:12 am
  #258  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 102,095
When speaking of “tracking devices go into a sort of sleep mode or off and then come back on”, those “tracking devices” is primarily a reference to iPhones and other devices that are doing the tracking of the AirTags.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Jun 14, 2021, 6:06 pm
  #259  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Francisco, California
Programs: Amex Centurion, United Global Services
Posts: 847
The AirTag "chirps" out a device ID number every few seconds, we have done captures on it (although it's all encrypted).

All the logic is on your phone. Just like how when you open up your AirPods and your phone recognizes it, your phone is always "listening" for the advertisements. It doesn't need to be paired to the device to hear the chirp. This is the same way the McDonald's app if you have it installed can tell when you are in the store. The intelligence is in the McDonald's app on your phone, it can hear the chirp of the in-store Bluetooth beacons in the location and send that data up and out. The actual beacon doesn't do anything magical, it just keeps chirping the unique device ID.

Your AirTag is just chirping out a unique serial number. Your iPhone hears these chips, not caring if it's your AirTag or someone else's, and reports them back to iCloud or wherever they are processing this stuff. Maybe it has some more intelligent logic so that it only repeatedly reports it to the cloud if you are moving, which would explain how it knows a tag is moving with you. Built into iOS is all the logic to recognize the AirTag chirps, and you are crowdsourcing that location information.

Source: worked with beacons for retail locations that can do things like pop up a description and details for the showroom car you are standing in front of and can also track foot traffic around a store. Catch is, you have to have a special app installed from that retailer to hear and upload those to their cloud. iOS just has this built-in for the AirTags. Pretty slick.
crackjack likes this.

Last edited by DMSFCA; Jun 14, 2021 at 6:12 pm
DMSFCA is offline  
Old Jun 14, 2021, 10:22 pm
  #260  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 38,441
Originally Posted by DMSFCA
The AirTag "chirps" out a device ID number every few seconds, we have done captures on it (although it's all encrypted).

All the logic is on your phone. Just like how when you open up your AirPods and your phone recognizes it, your phone is always "listening" for the advertisements. It doesn't need to be paired to the device to hear the chirp. This is the same way the McDonald's app if you have it installed can tell when you are in the store. The intelligence is in the McDonald's app on your phone, it can hear the chirp of the in-store Bluetooth beacons in the location and send that data up and out. The actual beacon doesn't do anything magical, it just keeps chirping the unique device ID.

Your AirTag is just chirping out a unique serial number. Your iPhone hears these chips, not caring if it's your AirTag or someone else's, and reports them back to iCloud or wherever they are processing this stuff. Maybe it has some more intelligent logic so that it only repeatedly reports it to the cloud if you are moving, which would explain how it knows a tag is moving with you. Built into iOS is all the logic to recognize the AirTag chirps, and you are crowdsourcing that location information.

Source: worked with beacons for retail locations that can do things like pop up a description and details for the showroom car you are standing in front of and can also track foot traffic around a store. Catch is, you have to have a special app installed from that retailer to hear and upload those to their cloud. iOS just has this built-in for the AirTags. Pretty slick.
Nope, that explains the Tile trackers (although they have receivers also to tell them to make noise.) That doesn't explain the anti-stalker provisions of the AirTags.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Jun 15, 2021, 12:09 pm
  #261  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM+(segs)/MM, UA Ag, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 3,238
Originally Posted by DMSFCA
This is the same way the McDonald's app if you have it installed can tell when you are in the store. The intelligence is in the McDonald's app on your phone, it can hear the chirp of the in-store Bluetooth beacons in the location and send that data up and out. The actual beacon doesn't do anything magical, it just keeps chirping the unique device ID.
Seems like it would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to just use location information for that use case. Most phones not only use GPS but also nearby AP MACs to pinpoint locations. Not to mention frequent MCDs customers probably have MCDs wifi network already auto joined on their phone (another way location can be determined).
GUWonder likes this.
HDQDD is offline  
Old Jun 15, 2021, 3:05 pm
  #262  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 102,095
The McDonald’s WiFi networks set for autojoin on iOS devices may block sending data to Apple until after the iOS device user manually selects to connect on the portal page after attempts
to auto-join the previously used WiFi network. And it’s not all that rare for the location data for an internet-connected device to be set for a different region than where the devices actually is.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Jun 16, 2021, 11:05 am
  #263  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: BOS
Programs: Sometimes BA, sometimes AA
Posts: 663
Originally Posted by HDQDD
Seems like it would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to just use location information for that use case. Most phones not only use GPS but also nearby AP MACs to pinpoint locations. Not to mention frequent MCDs customers probably have MCDs wifi network already auto joined on their phone (another way location can be determined).
This is going off-topic but it depends what you mean by "pinpoint". A Bluetooth beacon will locate you much more accurately than GPS or wifi APs, especially indoors (like a mall). People would soon get sick of McD's if they spammed you every time you came close, but once you're inside then the localization stuff can be useful.

On a side note, wifi APs can log the MAC addresses of all wifi devices within range, whether or not the device tries to join the network. There were some stores that were logging all the MAC addresses seen by their APs, cross-referencing them with customer transactions (credit card, loyalty card etc.) and then they could subsequently know when you were in the store even without you purchasing anything. That's the reason behind the "Private Address" switch in the wifi settings - so the MAC address is spoofed to stop them doing that.

Anyway, back on topic, AirTags do a little more than "chirp" as DMSFCA puts it, because they like Tile can also receive a message from a nearby phone to tell it to beep, but essentially they are pretty dumb devices. There's no need to build in the cost, complexity and early obsolescence of intelligence into the device. "Chirp" every now and then, beep when instructed. That's about all it needs to do.
potfish is offline  
Old Jun 16, 2021, 5:53 pm
  #264  
exp
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Programs: DL, UA, AA, VS
Posts: 5,226
So has anyone traveled with AirTags recently, tried putting it into their checked luggage?

About to go on a trip next week so debating it.
exp is offline  
Old Jun 17, 2021, 6:40 am
  #265  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 595
I used them this past weekend on a trip to DFW to visit my granddaughter. I also had a Tile Pro attached to our one piece of checked baggage. When we arrived, the Airtag brought up a map showing the path from the plane to the terminal and getting back home,we connected with the bag on the conveyor before we could see it at about 50 feet distant. About what I expected, so no revelations or disappointments. I think the Tile was located on board the outbound flight while airborne, but no real actual proximity info. I am still planning to use both while traveling. If they don't work I am no worse off that before. I just put my phone back in my pocket and use my eyes to locate my bags.
draver is offline  
Old Jun 17, 2021, 8:53 am
  #266  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: ua Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Silver, Hyatt Gold, National Executive, Avis First
Posts: 203
Originally Posted by draver
I used them this past weekend on a trip to DFW to visit my granddaughter. I also had a Tile Pro attached to our one piece of checked baggage. When we arrived, the Airtag brought up a map showing the path from the plane to the terminal and getting back home,we connected with the bag on the conveyor before we could see it at about 50 feet distant. About what I expected, so no revelations or disappointments. I think the Tile was located on board the outbound flight while airborne, but no real actual proximity info. I am still planning to use both while traveling. If they don't work I am no worse off that before. I just put my phone back in my pocket and use my eyes to locate my bags.
Thanks for the "Test" results.

So, was the Airtag not registered to your Apple ID? According to documentation, the owner of the Airtag can't see the location history (without some sort of other tools), but only where it is now. It appears an Airtag reigstered to another ID "following" you, will allow you to see the path of the Airtag while it was with you. Otherwise, what did you do to see the path?
z28lt1 is offline  
Old Jun 18, 2021, 6:15 am
  #267  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 595
The wife and I share the same iCloud account, so I could see the location of her Airtag on the Find My app. It was a 4 day trip so of course she needed to take a bag big enough it needed to be checked ($30). I did carry on, so no tracking for my bag.

I'm waiting for some good news about the Tile/Sidewalk rollout this past week. I thought it would be a big deal both for Tile and Google, but not much buzz so far.
draver is offline  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 7:43 am
  #268  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM+(segs)/MM, UA Ag, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 3,238
Originally Posted by potfish
This is going off-topic but it depends what you mean by "pinpoint". A Bluetooth beacon will locate you much more accurately than GPS or wifi APs, especially indoors (like a mall). People would soon get sick of McD's if they spammed you every time you came close, but once you're inside then the localization stuff can be useful.
My response was about how to tell if you're in or near x store (I assumed (poorly perhaps) that we were talking about for ordering, not spamming). In the spamming scenario, you might be right, but MCD's marketing team might disagree, they may prefer to try to entice you to come in.

Originally Posted by potfish
On a side note, wifi APs can log the MAC addresses of all wifi devices within range, whether or not the device tries to join the network. There were some stores that were logging all the MAC addresses seen by their APs, cross-referencing them with customer transactions (credit card, loyalty card etc.) and then they could subsequently know when you were in the store even without you purchasing anything. That's the reason behind the "Private Address" switch in the wifi settings - so the MAC address is spoofed to stop them doing that.
I was referring to using the MAC of the AP which a client can read* and then lookup (i.e. if it's SSID is a MCDs SSID).

*I believe Apple may have removed the ability for users/apps to read other MAC addresses. I think I recall reading that a while back. Another in the list of useful features Apple has removed over the years (battery info, field test mode, etc.). However, MCD could still do some sort of exchange with the MCDs SSID (in this case it would have to have been previously joined) to determine which location the user is at/near.
HDQDD is offline  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 7:45 am
  #269  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM+(segs)/MM, UA Ag, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 3,238
I got a notification last night about my daughter's airtag following me. You would think it would be intelligent enough to know that she resides in the same house...

Note: We are not on the same icloud account.
HDQDD is offline  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 3:13 pm
  #270  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 38,441
Originally Posted by HDQDD
I got a notification last night about my daughter's airtag following me. You would think it would be intelligent enough to know that she resides in the same house...

Note: We are not on the same icloud account.
Yup, the motion sensor addresses the first failure scenario I saw but this is the second and I don't think there's a solution.
Loren Pechtel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.