Do Apple AirTags Require a Monthly Fee?

December 14, 2023

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Apple’s AirTags have become a popular way to track items like keys, wallets, luggage and more. But do these useful tracking devices require an ongoing monthly fee?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the costs associated with Apple AirTags.

AirTags Don’t Require a Monthly Fee – Just a One-Time Purchase

The good news is Apple AirTags do not require any type of monthly subscription or ongoing fees. When you purchase an AirTag, there are no additional monthly charges associated with using it.

This makes Apple AirTags more affordable compared to some other item trackers on the market that charge subscription plans. For example, Tile trackers require a $30 yearly subscription for premium features.

AirTags simply involve:

  • A one-time purchase of each AirTag ($29 each or $99 for a 4 pack)
  • Access to an iPhone or iOS device with the Find My app. This app comes pre-installed and is free.

After the initial AirTag purchase, you can use them indefinitely with no extra costs. Apple has introduced AirTags as a simple, hassle-free tracking option without monthly fees or subscriptions.

What’s Included in The Apple AirTag Purchase Price

Here’s an overview of what’s included when you buy an Apple AirTag:

  • The AirTag tracking device itself
  • A battery inside the AirTag (CR2032) with over 1 year battery life. While the average AirTag battery lasts over a year, actual battery life depends on usage. Check out this guide on how long AirTag batteries last under different use cases.
  • Precision Finding and other tracking features accessed through the Find My app
  • A keychain, strap or other accessory to attach the AirTag to items
  • All software updates to enhance performance over time
  • Free engraving with emoji or text (up to 4 characters)

So for the one-time purchase price, you get the essential hardware, software and battery needed to use AirTags. No hidden subscriptions or extra costs.

How AirTags Work With Find My App

Airtag Ease Of Use

AirTags connect wirelessly to the Find My app on iPhone or iPad using a technology called Ultra Wideband. This allows you to see the exact location of your lost AirTag on a map.

The Find My app comes pre-installed on iOS devices and is free to use. So you don’t need to pay anything additional to use the app’s tracking features with AirTag.

Using the Find My network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices, you can locate your AirTagged items even when far away. It will show the AirTag’s most recent location on a map.

One downside is that AirTag location isn’t always updated instantly. Learn why your AirTag location may not be updating and how to troubleshoot.

If the lost item is close by, Precision Finding uses sound, haptics and visual feedback to lead you to the exact spot. This makes AirTags one of the most accurate lost item trackers.

You Will Eventually Need To Replace the AirTag Battery

Airtag's Battery

The battery inside each AirTag is designed to last over a year before needing replacement. When the battery gets low, your iPhone will send you a notification so you know it’s time to swap it out.

Replacing the battery requires unscrewing the back of the AirTag and inserting a new CR2032 battery. These cost around $5 for a pack of 4 at most stores.

So while the battery isn’t covered under the one-time purchase price, a single replacement battery every 1-2 years is an affordable maintenance cost.

How Apple AirTags Compare To Tile Trackers

Tile Trackers
Tile Trackers

Tile offers popular Bluetooth trackers similar to AirTags, but with a different business model.

Tile requires a $30 yearly subscription called Tile Premium for features like smart alerts and location history. AirTags provide those same capabilities without any subscription.

However, Tile does work with both iOS and Android devices, while AirTags are currently only designed for the Apple ecosystem.

For an in-depth look at how Tile and AirTags stack up, see this AirTag vs Tile comparison.

So Tile may be a better choice than AirTags if you need cross-platform tracking and don’t mind paying a yearly fee. But AirTags offer more value if you’re already an Apple user.

Alternatives If You Don’t Want Any Monthly Fees

Don’t want any monthly subscriptions for tracking devices? Here are some AirTag alternatives that also just involve a one-time purchase:

  • Chipolo ONE Spot – Similar design and features as AirTag, but works on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. $28 for one or $100 for four pack. If you’re looking for the best AirTag alternatives, this guide compares AirTags vs Chipolo One Spot in detail to help you decide.
  • Esky Key Finder – Budget $20 Bluetooth tracker with iOS and Android app. Lacks some advanced features.
  • Orbit Glasses – $40 GPS tracking glasses clip. No app required and works globally.
  • Tile Slim – Slim $25 tracker comparable to Tile but with no subscription. iOS/Android.

Before choosing a tracking device, consider factors like compatibility with your devices, battery life, accuracy and form factor. But if you want to avoid monthly costs, AirTags are a solid Apple-focused option.

Key Takeaways on AirTag Monthly Fees

To recap the key details on whether Apple AirTags require monthly fees:

  • AirTags are a one-time purchase with no monthly subscription or ongoing costs
  • The Find My app used with AirTags is free for Apple users
  • Eventually the CR2032 battery will need replacement every 1-2 years
  • Tile trackers offer similar tracking but charge a $30 yearly fee
  • Alternatives like Chipolo ONE Spot also have no monthly fee

So while AirTags have a cost upfront, you won’t get hit with any annoying monthly fees down the road to keep using them. That makes them an affordable way to keep track of all your important items.

FAQ

Do I need to pay every month for my AirTags?

No, there is no monthly fee required to use Apple AirTags after the initial purchase. It’s a one-time payment only.

Do AirTags need a subscription?

No subscription or ongoing fees are needed for AirTags. The Find My app used with AirTags is free.

What does the AirTag one-time purchase include?

The one-time AirTag purchase price includes the AirTag itself, battery, keychain/accessory, software features, and free engraving. No subscription needed.

Do I need an iPhone to use AirTags?

Yes, you need an iPhone or iOS device to set up and use AirTags. They work through the Find My app which comes pre-installed on Apple devices.

How long does an AirTag battery last?

The CR2032 battery inside AirTags lasts for over 1 year on average before needing replacement. You’ll get an iPhone notification when your AirTag battery is low.