What to do when you find someone else’s lost AirTag

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What to do when you find a lost AirTag
It's easy to find out who a lost AirTag belongs to.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new AirTag tracker is no bigger than a coat button and cannot be attached to anything without the use of accessories. So it’s likely many are going to get lost. Here’s what you should do if you ever find one.

Despite its diminutive form factor, AirTag packs a bunch of clever technology, including Bluetooth and NFC, that allows it to be tracked via Apple’s Find My service and a network of millions of Apple devices.

Should you lose your AirTag, then, it shouldn’t be too difficult to locate it. But what if you stumble across an AirTag someone else has lost? There’s an easy way to find out who the device belongs to.

How to find out who owns an AirTag

Thanks to its built-in NFC technology, an AirTag can be scanned by any smartphone with an NFC chip — including iPhone 7 or later and many Android devices. Here’s how to read one:

  1. Hold the back of your smartphone up against the white side of the AirTag and wait for it to be detected.
  2. Tap the notification that appears on your smartphone screen. It will open a browser window that provides information on the device, including its serial number.
  3. If the AirTag’s owner has marked it as lost, you should see a message with details on how to contact them.

You won’t be able to see an AirTag owner’s information unless they have marked it as lost and provided their details; this isn’t something Apple will disclose by default due to privacy concerns.

When contact information isn’t available, you might choose to hand in the lost AirTag at a local Apple Store. Or you might hold onto it in the hope that the owner tracks it down or marks it as lost later on.