The trick to not lose your bags at the airport

The trick to not lose your bags at the airport

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Devices like Apple’s AirTags send a signal to your phone

When checking luggage at the airport, especially if it is necessary to make a stopover before reaching the final destination, there are those who look at them as if praying to find them when they get off the plane. Luggage losses are still relatively frequent and can range from the inconvenience of spending a couple of days without clothes, to the loss of a lot of money if something valuable was inside. Hence, the ingenuity of users is sharpened beyond trusting that the barcode that airlines place on luggage is enough for everyone to travel safely.

An increasingly popular solution is to use devices known as ‘tags’ to track baggage via mobile. It was Apple who made them fashionable with their ‘AirTags’, similar to a coin (they are 32 millimeters in diameter and 8 mm thick), provided with an interchangeable battery and resistant to water. They can be used as they are or inserted into key rings or straps: you just have to connect them to the iPhone, give them a name and place them on the object you want to have located. From then on, simply open the ‘Search’ app on an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.

The network of the Search app allows you to know the location of the suitcase

AirTags send a signal via Bluetooth to all nearby Apple devices on the Find My network, sending the location to that app’s map. When the AirTag is close to its owner, the ‘Precision Search’ functionality comes into action, marking the exact distance and position of the device. If what happens is that we don’t find a bag at home that has an AirTag or if we know that the object in which we have inserted one is nearby, we can use Search or the Apple voice assistant (Siri) so that the AirTag emits a sound that indicates its exact position. Those from Cupertino report that this data is anonymous and encrypted, so that not even Apple itself has access to the location of the device.

At first the AirTags were more of a diversion to check how the bags were moving inside the airport, but these electronic tags that work as a beacon soon became useful. An example is the experience of the YouTube user ‘NorbReviews’, who was able to recover (without leaving the airport and thanks to an AirTag) a suitcase that had gotten stuck in the cart that was transporting it from the plane to the arrivals tape. In recent months, this use has become popular due in part to management problems at several airports due to lack of staff.

If a piece of luggage becomes lost, the user puts the AirTag in lost mode and, as soon as it is detected by a device on the network, an automatic notification is issued.

For Android devices there are similar beacons

AirTags work only with Apple phones, tablets, and the smartwatch, but there are other options for Android users. Like Tile Mate, which work in a similar way to those of Apple and emit the signal when they contact a phone that has the App installed via Bluetooth.

For its part, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag has a range of 120 meters and only works with mobile phones of the Korean brand that are on the Galaxy Find Network. Additionally, Chipolo, tags that work with the Chipolo Android app, are also compatible with Find My on Apple phones.

Checking luggage is just one of the uses of this type of device, which can also be used to know where a pet is if he wears one on his collar. At first there were uses that perverted the objective of the AirTags and that were exposed when several women reported that someone had used an AirTag to follow them. That’s why Apple took action, and now people with an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch get an alert when they come within range of an AirTag that isn’t registered to them.

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