Troubleshooting AirTag Location Not Updating: The Ultimate Guide

January 8, 2024

Affiliate Disclaimer: HotAirTag is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you!

Apple AirTags have become incredibly popular for tracking items like keys, wallets, backpacks and more. But what happens when your AirTag stops updating its location accurately?

Suddenly that useful tracking device turns into nothing more than a round hunk of metal.

Don’t worry – in most cases, fixing an AirTag that’s not updating its location is simple. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the potential causes and solutions to get your AirTag working properly again.

Why Your AirTag May Stop Updating Location

Why Your Airtag May Stop Updating Location

There are several key reasons an AirTag can fail to update its location as expected:

  • Dead battery – AirTag batteries last about 1 year on average. If the battery dies, the AirTag won’t be able to update location.
  • Bluetooth issues – AirTags use Bluetooth to communicate with nearby Apple devices. Bluetooth problems will prevent location updates.
  • Find My app problems – The Find My app must be set up properly to connect with AirTag. Issues here can block updates.
  • Location services disabled – Your iPhone needs location services enabled for AirTag to function. If disabled, no updates.
  • Incorrect Apple ID – The AirTag must be linked to your personal Apple ID. A managed ID may not work properly.
  • No other Apple devices nearby – AirTags update when near an iPhone, iPad etc. No nearby devices means no updates.
  • Connection issues – Poor WiFi or cellular data connection can block updates to Find My app.
  • Outdated firmware – AirTag may need latest firmware update for full functionality.
  • Physical damage – Significant damage to the AirTag can render it non-functional.
  • Geographic restrictions – Some countries restrict the ultra wideband tech used in AirTag.

Now let’s go through each potential AirTag issue in detail, with actionable solutions to get your tracker working properly again.

Fix #1: Check AirTag Battery

The first thing to check is the condition of your AirTag battery.

AirTag batteries last approximately 1 year with typical use before needing replacement. Over time as the CR2032 coin cell battery runs low, your AirTag’s ability to update location becomes less reliable.

Once the battery is fully drained, the AirTag will stop updating its location completely.

You’ll know the battery needs replacing if:

  • The Find My app shows an error or “Not Reachable” message
  • You stop receiving notifications when separated from the AirTag
  • The AirTag location doesn’t update even when moving
  • It’s been about 1 year since your last AirTag battery change

Replacing the battery is quick and easy:

Cr2032 3v
  1. Press down on the stainless steel cover and rotate counter-clockwise to pop it off.
  2. Carefully remove the old CR2032 coin cell battery.
  3. Insert a new CR2032 battery with the positive side facing up.
  4. Press the battery down until it clicks into place.
  5. Align the 3 slots on the AirTag with the tabs on the cover.
  6. Rotate the cover clockwise to lock it back in place.

After inserting a fresh battery, your AirTag should start updating location normally within 15-30 minutes.

If it’s still not working after replacing the battery, move on to the next fixes below.

Fix #2: Ensure Bluetooth is Enabled

AirTags rely on Bluetooth connectivity to Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, MacBook and more to update their location frequently.

If Bluetooth is disabled on your iPhone, your AirTag simply won’t be able to communicate and share its location data.

To enable Bluetooth:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Tap “Bluetooth
  3. Flip the Bluetooth toggle to the “on” position if disabled
Ensure Bluetooth Is Enabled

With Bluetooth activated, open the Find My app and see if your AirTag begins updating location as expected.

If your AirTag still isn’t updating properly, Bluetooth issues are likely not the culprit. Move on to the next potential fixes.

Pro Tip: Always keep Bluetooth enabled for optimal AirTag performance. AirTags will update location whenever in Bluetooth range of your Apple devices. Some users wonder if AirTags work without WiFi – rest assured Bluetooth is all that’s needed for tracking.

Fix #3: Confirm AirTag Linked to Your Apple ID

In order for your AirTag to work correctly, it must be properly linked with your Apple ID.

The Find My network uses your Apple ID to associate your AirTag with your devices. Without this link, your AirTag won’t reliably update its location.

Here’s how to check if your AirTag is linked properly:

  1. Open the Find My app
  2. Select the “Items” tab at the bottom
  3. Look for your AirTag in the list of devices
  4. Tap your AirTag to bring up its details screen
  5. Confirm your Apple ID is listed under “Owner
Confirm Airtag Linked To Your Apple Id

If you see a different Apple ID or no ID listed, you’ll need to reset your AirTag and link it properly to your personal Apple ID.

Follow these steps:

  1. Press the AirTag cover and rotate counter-clockwise to pop it off
  2. Remove the battery and wait 30 seconds
  3. Reinsert the battery and press down until it clicks
  4. Repeat the battery removal/reinsert process two more times
  5. On the third reinsert, you’ll hear a different tone indicating reset
  6. Place the cover back on and rotate clockwise to lock it
  7. Bring your iPhone near the reset AirTag to begin setup with your Apple ID

Your AirTag should now update location consistently when linked to your personal Apple ID.

Fix #4: Check Location Services Settings

Your iPhone’s location services allow apps like Find My to see your current location. This needs to be enabled for AirTag functioning.

If your location services are disabled, your AirTag won’t be able to view or update its location relative to your iPhone’s location.

To enable location services:

  1. Open Settings and tap Privacy
  2. Select Location Services
  3. Check that Location Services toggle is in the ON position
  4. Scroll down and ensure Share My Location is enabled
  5. Also enable Location access for Find My App
Check Location Services Settings

With location services active, your AirTag should begin updating its location properly in Find My.

If you still have issues, reset your iPhone to ensure location access settings take full effect.

Fix #5: Move Your AirTag to Recalibrate

If your AirTag has been sitting stationary for a prolonged period, its location calibration can get thrown off.

Simply moving your AirTag a short distance can recalibrate its positioning system and get location updates working again.

If your AirTag isn’t updating:

  1. Grab your keys, wallet or item the AirTag is attached to
  2. Walk around your room, office or house for 2-3 minutes shaking the item gently
  3. Open Find My and check if the AirTag location has updated
  4. If not, walk a bit farther such as down the street or around the block
  5. The movement should recalibrate the AirTag and get location updates working once more

This simple fix gets the AirTag accelerometer and positioning recalibrated so it can accurately report location changes again.

Pro Tip: Not sure where to attach your AirTag? For cars, hiding your AirTag in the wheel well blends it seamlessly while allowing Bluetooth signals to transmit.

Fix #6: Reset Your AirTag

If you’ve tried the above fixes with no luck, doing a full reset of your AirTag itself may be required.

Resetting deletes any pairing errors, glitches or bugs and lets you re-pair from scratch.

Note: Resetting will erase any custom names, emojis or other settings for your AirTag.

Here is how to reset AirTag to factory settings:

  1. Press down on the metal AirTag cover and rotate counter-clockwise to remove it
  2. Take out the battery and leave the AirTag without power for 30 seconds
  3. Reinsert the battery and press firmly until it clicks into place
  4. You’ll hear a tone indicating successful reset
  5. Rotate the cover back on clockwise until it locks into position
  6. Bring your iPhone near the AirTag to begin re-pairing
  7. Follow the on-screen setup process to link to your Apple ID
Reset Your Airtag

Resetting your AirTag forces it to re-calibrate from a clean slate. This often resolves any software issues causing location not to update properly.

Fix #7: Update iOS and AirTag Firmware

Having the latest iOS software on your iPhone along with updated AirTag firmware ensures maximum performance and compatibility.

If your iPhone is running outdated iOS software, or your AirTag firmware needs upgrading, you may encounter issues like location not updating.

To update iOS:

  1. Open Settings app and tap General
  2. Choose Software Update and allow any available iOS updates to install
Iphone Software Update

To update AirTag firmware:

  1. Ensure your iPhone is on iOS 14.5 or later
  2. Bring your iPhone near the AirTag periodically so new firmware can transfer
  3. The Find My app will indicate when firmware finishes installing

Updating to the latest iOS and AirTag firmware rules out any compatibility issues and gives you full access to the newest features and fixes.

Fix #8: Toggle Airplane Mode

A quick fix that often resolves minor software glitches is to toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

Switching Airplane Mode on forces all radios/connections to restart as if rebooting your iPhone. This can clear up problems with connections not working right.

To quickly reset connections:

  1. Open Control Center on your iPhone
  2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon to enable it
  3. Wait 15-30 seconds then toggle Airplane Mode off
  4. Open Find My app and check if AirTag location now updates
Iphone Airplane Mode

Toggling Airplane Mode is an easy reset for wireless connectivity that resolves many minor connection bugs.

Fix #9: Get Better WiFi/Cellular Connection

AirTags rely on Bluetooth for short range location updates. But for the Find My network to relay that location data, an internet connection is required.

If your WiFi or cellular connection is poor, the Find My app may struggle to retrieve the latest location from your AirTag.

To rule out connection issues:

  • Move closer to your WiFi router if signal is weak
  • Switch between WiFi and cellular data
  • Disable VPN or firewalls temporarily to test
  • Try toggling Airplane mode on/off
  • Turn off WiFi and use cellular data only (or vice versa)

Ideally you want strong WiFi and cellular data to ensure Find My gets uninterrupted access to AirTag location data.

Fix #10: Check for Physical Damage

Though AirTags are fairly durable, significant physical damage can render them non-functional.

Drop damage, water exposure, extreme heat, or tampering with internal components can all cause permanent malfunctions.

If your AirTag has stopped updating location, inspect it carefully for:

  • Cracks, dents or holes in the white plastic housing
  • Damage or missing cover
  • Debris, dust or liquid inside the AirTag
  • Leaking or bulging battery

Any visible external damage or internal issues will require AirTag replacement rather than troubleshooting.

You can contact Apple Support for potential replacement options if your AirTag is damaged.

Pro Tip: If your AirTag begins making unexpected beeping noises, learn how to diagnose the reasons why here.

Fix #11: Avoid Geographic Restrictions

AirTags rely on ultra wideband radio technology for precision location tracking.

However some countries including Russia, Nepal, Indonesia and more restrict or prohibit ultra wideband usage.

If you are traveling abroad with your AirTag, it may stop updating location in countries where ultra wideband is banned.

Your AirTag will resume normal location updates when back in an unrestricted region. But it will be non-functional anywhere ultra wideband is not allowed.

Pro Travel Tip: Protect your passport, luggage and valuables by using an AirTag enabled passport holder when flying internationally.

Key Takeaways and Recommendations

Getting your AirTag location updates functioning again is crucial for finding lost items.

Here are some key tips to avoid issues going forward:

  • Replace AirTag battery annually for maximum lifespan
  • Keep Bluetooth enabled at all times
  • Pair AirTag only with your personal Apple ID
  • Enable location services and Find My app access
  • Update iOS and AirTag firmware regularly
  • Avoid heavily restricted regions when traveling
  • Address any physical damage immediately

Following best practices for AirTag care, connections and battery means you can avoid many of the common location issues.

But if your AirTag does stop updating properly again, this guide outlines the full troubleshooting process to get it fixed quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my AirTag suddenly stop updating location?

If an AirTag stops updating location suddenly, the most common reasons are battery depletion, Bluetooth toggled off, loss of internet connection, or physical damage. Try replacing the battery, enabling Bluetooth, connecting to internet, and inspecting for any cracks or water exposure as a starting troubleshooting point.

How can I get my AirTag location to refresh?

To force your AirTag to refresh its location, open the Find My app, select your AirTag, enable “Notify When Found” and tap the “Play Sound” option. This forces the AirTag to update its location instantly within the app. You can also remove and reinsert the AirTag battery to get a location refresh.

Why is my AirTag only updating location intermittently?

Intermittent AirTag location updates are most often caused by devices moving in and out of Bluetooth range. For consistent updates, make sure your paired iPhone or iPad is within ~30 feet of the AirTag. Proximity to your Apple devices allows regular Bluetooth contact so location can refresh frequently.

How long should it take for AirTag location to update?

AirTag location should update every 1-5 minutes when in Bluetooth range of a paired Apple device like iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. If it takes longer than 5 minutes to refresh, there may be an issue with Bluetooth, Find My settings, battery level or other factors.

What distance can AirTags track location from?

AirTags have a Bluetooth range up to ~30 feet for precise tracking. Beyond that range, they rely on networked Apple devices to update location approximates, with accuracy decreasing the farther away they get. AirTags can potentially track items across the world using the Find My network.

Conclusion

When your AirTag stops relaying its location accurately, it renders the tracking device useless.

Thankfully, a dead battery, Bluetooth problems or other common issues are usually quick fixes.

Following this comprehensive troubleshooting guide, you should be able to get your AirTag updating location consistently once again.

With a functioning AirTag attached, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can find lost items easily using the Find My app.

Just be sure to follow best practices for AirTag care and connectivity going forward to minimize issues. But if location problems pop up again down the road, you now have an complete guide to get your AirTag working properly once more.