Home How-To-Guides Introducing the New AirTag Sharing Feature: What You Need to Know

Introducing the New AirTag Sharing Feature: What You Need to Know

Posted: October 25, 2023

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Introduction to New AirTag Sharing Feature

The arrival of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 introduced new improvements to the Apple ecosystem, with one of the most anticipated changes being the ability to share AirTags. Earlier versions of the operating systems did not permit sharing support, limiting the ownership and usage of AirTags to a single Apple ID account. This issue raised challenges for users who desired to track a single AirTag simultaneously with multiple user accounts. The good news is the new update successfully addresses this concern, thereby enhancing the usefulness and flexibility of these coin-sized devices.

Notice of AirTag's Previous Limitation on Single User Tracking

Previously, the limitations of AirTag's single-user tracking posed some inconveniences to Apple device owners. Despite the innovative idea behind AirTags, their inability to support multiple users tracking one AirTag at a time was a fundamental shortfall. To date, transferring the ownership of AirTags has been an available option. However, simultaneous tracking was impossible, meaning only the Apple ID account linked to the AirTag could view its location.

Launch of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 Allowing Shared Tracking

Fortunately, the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 updates have paved the way for AirTag sharing. Several users can concurrently monitor a single item's location, making AirTags more resourceful. This newfound capability opens up new possibilities for use cases where multiple parties need to keep tabs on an AirTag's whereabouts. It is as simple as selecting an AirTag from the Find My app and choosing the "share this AirTag" option to invite a contact to track the item's location.

Description of Secondary Users' Abilities and Restrictions

Another significant improvement is managing who can access an AirTag's location. The owner remains in control and can invite or remove people, enabling temporary sharing. It provides a practical solution for situations where you might lend an item with an AirTag attached to a friend or family member. The invited person can view the location of the AirTag and track it in real-time, much like the primary user. However, it comes with the added benefit of eliminating unnecessary tracking alerts. For instance, a shared car with an AirTag will no longer prompt warnings about an unknown AirTag to the person who does not own the AirTag. Ultimately, these new capabilities greatly enhance the versatility and usability of AirTags.

Prerequisites for New Functionality

To take advantage of the new sharing feature for AirTags, there are specific prerequisites that users need to fulfill. This includes ensuring that your Apple devices run on the required operating system versions and stay updated with the latest software improvements.

Requirement of iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 for Sharing Feature

To use the AirTag sharing feature, having iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 installed on your device is non-negotiable. Earlier versions of the operating systems will not support this feature. This change was incorporated into the new software updates: iOS 17 for iPhones and iPadOS 17 for iPads. Therefore, without these versions, users remain limited to the previous framework, where only one Apple ID account could track an AirTag at a time, and sharing support was unavailable.

Need to Upgrade iPhone and/or iPad

As such, an essential step is to upgrade your iPhone and/or iPad to at least iOS 17 or iPadOS 17. The release of iOS 17.1, which is expected to be available in late October following weeks of beta testing, further enhances the features and changes related to Apple Music, AirDrop, and StandBy mode, among others. To keep up with these updates, users should ensure their devices run the latest operating system versions. Installing the new software updates is straightforward, with prompts typically accessible within the device's settings application.

Steps to Share AirTag

Sharing an AirTag is straightforward, thanks to the user-friendly Apple interface. This step-by-step process allows users to share their AirTags with multiple people, enabling them to keep tabs on an item's location.

Starting the Process in the Find My App

To share an AirTag, it is essential to begin this process through the Find My app. The app is the primary hub for all tracking and location-sharing services on Apple devices. Upon opening the app, users will need to navigate to the 'Items' tab, indicated at the bottom of your screen.

Specificity of Shareable Devices and Items

Upon selecting 'Items,' the screen will reveal a list of the AirTags associated with the user's Apple ID. It is important to note that while the sharing feature is primarily designed for AirTags, it also extends to Find My-enabled items. Such items only need to have enabled locating tracking to share them. Users are tasked with specifically choosing the AirTag or item they wish to share with others.

Process of Selecting and Adding People for Shared Tracking

After selecting the specific AirTag, users can tap the 'Add Person' option under 'Share This AirTag.' A prompt will be displayed on your iPhone explaining that once an AirTag is shared, the chosen contacts will be able to locate the item and will not receive unidentified tracking notifications. Users then proceed to tap 'Continue,' after which they can select the contacts to share the AirTag's location with.

Reminder of Compatibility Restrictions

Users must remember the compatibility restrictions while sharing AirTags. This feature is only available on devices running the most recent versions of Apple's operating systems, specifically iOS 17 or iPadOS 17. Devices with older versions will not support AirTag sharing.

Ability to Add Multiple People at Once

A bonus of this new feature is the ability to share an AirTag with multiple people at once. After the users select their desired contacts, the receiving contacts are notified to add the shared AirTag. They simply need to tap the 'Add' button in the notification, and the AirTag will be automatically added to their Find My app. This seamless process makes it easier to share items with the added convenience of location tracking.

Updating and Maintaining Shared Tags

The management of shared AirTags is as simple as the sharing process itself. User-friendly features in the Find My app facilitate the display and removal of people in the AirTag's sharing list.

Display of Shared People in the Find My app

Once an AirTag's location is shared, the recipients selected appear in the Find My app. Directly on the page dedicated to the AirTag or shared item, the names of the sharing list individuals are displayed. This visibility ensures that users can track who has access to the shared AirTag's location at any given time.

Process of Removing People from the Sharing List

The process of sharing AirTags is not irreversible. Users retain their ability to manage the list of shared contacts, even post-sharing. For instance, they can remove certain individuals from the sharing list. To do this, one simply has to navigate to the list displayed in the Find My app. Tapping on the name of the person they wish to remove brings up the option to cancel their access. Hence, users maintain full control over the shared AirTag and who interacts with it. This process further enhances the flexibility and adaptability of AirTags, allowing users to regulate tracking permissions based on their needs and preferences.