The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) officially cleared Apple AirTag trackers for takeoff, amid widespread confusion following German airline Lufthansa’s tweet that the Bluetooth-enabled AirTags were “classified as dangerous and need to be turned off” during flights. Five days later, Lufthansa reversed that position.
“Luggage tracking devices powered by lithium metal cells that have 0.3 grams or less of lithium can be used on checked baggage,” the FAA said in a statement provided to Forbes. “Apple AirTags meet this threshold; other luggage tracking devices may not.”
AirTags became a must-have travel accessory during the recent summer of airport chaos, when tens of thousands of canceled and delayed flights had passengers fearing being separated from their luggage.
The coin-sized tracking devices can be attached to luggage, wallets, keys, eyeglasses or any other item a person might worry about losing or being stolen. (Recently, they were used to recover stolen political campaign lawn signs.)
If you, as an iPhone owner, enable Lost mode for an AirTag, the iPhone will anonymously reach out to a vast network of compatible iPhones and iPads around the world. If any of these Apple devices is within 300 feet of your AirTag, you will be alerted to your AirTag’s location so you can retrieve your lost item. This process is encrypted and happens in the background, so the owner of an iPhone that locates your AirTagged item remains oblivious that their phone was involved.
For Android phone users, the popular Tile tracker offers a similar Bluetooth-enabled crowdsourcing process to find items outside the normal tracking range of several hundred feet and alert you via the Tile app.
Notably, the CR2032 3V lithium coin battery that powers Apple Air Tags and Tile trackers is the same type of battery that powers many other items that often travel on planes, including watches, car key fobs and glucose monitors.