Are AirTags effective in protecting a bicycle against theft?

Are AirTags your bike’s best friend? Apple’s connected beacon may seem ideal for tracking down your device in the event of theft, but it still has some limitations. We will explain everything to you.

The AirTags are finally here. After years of rumors and false leads, Apple has finally unveiled its smart beacons supposed to help you find your lost items. Due to their popularity, AirTags were quickly seen as a cheap and easy way to track your bike in the event of theft. Apple even makes a selling point by presenting promo images where we see a bike located thanks to the small tags.

One of Apple’s promo images showing a bike with an AirTag // Source: Apple

Are AirTags the ultimate solution to prevent bike theft? We take stock of the pros and cons of this solution.

AirTag on a bike: the most

  • Discreet and light : Apple AirTags are particularly compact for a connected beacon. They take up less space than a Tile or Samsung beacon and are rather light. Ideal therefore to be slipped on a bike without being noticed. Apple products always giving birth to a galaxy of dedicated accessories, 3D printing fans have already produced an AirTag case that looks like a bicycle reflector, making the beacon even more discreet. It can also be glued under the saddle or integrated into it with a seam.
  • A huge network of beacons : the primary strength of AirTags is that they rely on a huge localization network since potentially every Apple device connected to the Internet can act as a relay beacon. Useful to maximize the chances of finding your bike.
  • Location accuracy : AirTags use ultra wideband (UWB) technology, which is particularly precise when it comes to finding objects. Even if your bike is in a courtyard, your iPhone will be able to detect it (provided you are nearby) since the UWB even works through walls.

AirTag on a bike: the minuses

  • No real-time localization: cUnlike a dedicated GPS beacon, AirTags do not send their positions in real time. They are dependent on the network of circulating Apple devices. If no iPhone passes by your beacon, then you will have a hard time finding your biclou.
  • No movement or exit alert : you will know on your Locate application if your bike has moved. However, there is no notification or zone to define to tell you in real time.
  • The anti-stalking alert : In order to prevent AirTags from becoming unwilling person’s tracking instruments, Apple has integrated an anti-stalking device into its accessory. Concretely, if an AirTag that does not belong to you follows you, it will notify you of its presence. On iPhone, using a notification that is triggered when you arrive at home or in a frequently visited place, and on Android with a sound signal that seems to be triggered after three days of disconnection with the dedicated iPhone. In either case, you must act quickly before the AirTag warns the thief of his presence on the bike.

Conclusion

Apple’s gadget certainly has significant advantages over other connected beacons, which makes it an attractive accessory to secure your bike, but as we said in our test, The AirTag is not clearly not an anti-theft device. The anti-stalking alert and the lack of real-time GPS positioning make them much less effective in securing your bike than a dedicated accessory. At best, we can advise them in addition to other devices.

At this game, le bike tracker d’Invoxia is much more competent. By using low-consumption networks, it can send its GPS positioning without the need for a relay beacon. At 149 € it is certainly much more expensive than an AirTag, but the accessory has been designed specifically for bike theft and therefore offers specific features (movement alert, more frequent position), unlike Apple beacons.

It bears repeating: AirTags are first and foremost lost object locators (as evidenced by the Apple ad). Very handy for putting your hand on your wallet stuck between two sofa cushions, but less so for hunting bike thieves.

Slipping an AirTag on a bicycle can therefore increase your chances of finding it if it is stolen, but we cannot recommend this solution as the main anti-theft measure.

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Source: Numerama by www.numerama.com.

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