How to Use AirTag Lost Mode to Find Your Lost Items

January 8, 2024

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Losing an important item like your keys or wallet can be stressful. Fortunately, if you have an Apple AirTag attached to the item, you can use Lost Mode in the Find My app to help locate it.

What is AirTag Lost Mode?

AirTag Lost Mode allows you to mark an AirTag as lost in Apple’s Find My network. This enables Apple devices around the world to help detect the AirTag’s location and notify you when found.

When Lost Mode is activated, you can enter a phone number and message. If someone finds your AirTag, they will see these details if they tap it to their iPhone or NFC-enabled Android phone.

Lost Mode locks the AirTag to your Apple ID until you disable it. This prevents others from connecting to your AirTag if lost.

Benefits of Using Lost Mode

Using Lost Mode with AirTag offers several benefits for finding lost items:

  • Increased Visibility: Marks the AirTag as lost in Apple’s vast Find My network of nearly 1 billion active devices. Dramatically increases visibility.
  • Anonymous and Private: The tracking process is encrypted and anonymous. Your identity and AirTag location data remain private. For more on how AirTag tracking privacy works, see this article on AirTags detecting as “moving with you”.
  • Precision Finding: iPhone 11 or newer can use AR, camera and sensors for directionally aware finding.
  • Sound Alerts: Play a sound on the AirTag to help locate when nearby.
  • NFC Tap: Someone who finds your AirTag can tap it on their iPhone or NFC Android device to see your message.
  • Notifications: Get notified when your lost AirTag is located by the network.

How to Put an AirTag in Lost Mode

Putting an AirTag into Lost Mode is easy and can be done from iPhone, iPad or Mac:

  • Open the Find My app.
  • Select the Items tab.
  • Choose the AirTag you want to mark as lost.
  • Enable Lost Mode and tap Continue.
Put An Airtag In Lost Mode 1
  • Enter a 10-digit phone number to display when found.
  • Tap Activate to confirm.
Put An Airtag In Lost Mode 2

You can also enter an email, customize a message, and enable notifications if desired.

For more tips on using Lost Mode, check out this guide on troubleshooting AirTags.

How to Find an AirTag in Lost Mode

Once Lost Mode is enabled, use these methods to help locate your lost AirTag:

  • Check Find My map for last known location.
  • Look for Precision Finding arrows when you are near.
Airtag Find My
  • Play Sound to hear alert if in Bluetooth range.
Airtag Play Sound
  • Wait for notification if someone finds it and taps.
  • Monitor Find My for updates if AirTag is detected.

For a comparison with dog GPS collars, read this Halo vs Invisible Fence article.

How to Turn Off Lost Mode

When you locate your lost item, remember to turn off Lost Mode in the Find My app:

  1. Open Find My > Items.
  2. Select your AirTag.
  3. Tap Disable Lost Mode.
  4. Confirm turning off Lost Mode.
Airtag Disable Lost Mode

Disabling Lost Mode removes the AirTag from Apple’s lost item network.

Tips for AirTag Lost Mode

Follow these tips to maximize effectiveness of Lost Mode:

  • Update your contact info if changed after activating Lost Mode.
  • Bring an NFC-equipped smartphone along when searching to detect.
  • Check Find My periodically for new location detections.
  • Inform people in the area to keep an eye out. More Apple devices means more visibility.
  • Lost Mode won’t work as well in rural areas with fewer iPhone users.
  • Lost Mode locks pairing so AirTag can’t be connected to a different Apple ID.
  • Learn about pet trackers without monthly fees.

Conclusion

AirTag Lost Mode leverages Apple’s vast Find My network to increase the chances of recovering lost items. It allows anyone to detect and identify your AirTag privately and securely. By putting an AirTag in Lost Mode as soon as you notice an item is lost, you have the best chance of being notified of its location when found.