j Joaquin Machado

EMF researcher

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Apple AirTag is a wireless tracking device that can be attached to personal items like keys, bags, and suitcases to help find them if they’re lost. One of the main advantages of the AirTags is its integration with Apple’s “Find My” system, which allows the location of the AirTags to be tracked in real time through an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. In addition, the AirTag has a compact design and is waterproof, making it ideal to take with you everywhere.

Technology blogs and magazines only point out as disadvantages of AirTags that they are only compatible with Apple devices, which limits their use to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. In addition, the price of AirTags can be considered high compared to other similar devices on the market. Some use examples for AirTags include placing one on your key to easily find it if it’s lost, placing one in your hand bag so you don’t lose it at the airport, or placing one in your car to find it in a busy parking lot. 

But recently, airports have started filing complaints about this device. Why? Well, because there are other aspects that are not considered, such as Electromagnetic Fields (the interference they can produce and the implications for electrically sensitive people). 

Let’s start by understanding how it works: According to the manufacturer, AirTags uses a location technology based on low-energy Bluetooth to communicate with other nearby Apple devices. This allows the AirTag to track itself through a network of nearby devices until it is at the desired location.

The declared SAR level for AirTags is 0.29 W/kg in transmit mode and 0.29 W/kg in receive mode. It is interesting and, at least, remarkable how Apple does publish a SAR evaluation for this accessory device, while devices like Google Assistant do not declare a SAR level or that such an evaluation is necessary.  

In my laboratory for the evaluation of electromagnetic field emissions, I have been able to measure the pulses emitted by the device, which are at significant electric field strengths measurable in V/m, which, in the near field, are around 50 cm radius, already exceed 1 V/m; and, in close proximity to the device, it can exceed such emission several times. (Requests the technical report) 

I have had the opportunity to interact with pets whose owners had fitted such devices; but they observed that, at times, their pets rejected the tracking device. Small breed dogs may be intolerant to such significant electric field emissions.

In one use case, the user used the SPIRO® SQUARE in permanent proximity to the pet, thereby stopping the abnormal and restless behavior as a reaction to the device. Although more tests are required, I recommend a SPIRO® CARD as a minimum measure.

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