How to Fix AirTag When Not Working or Connecting on iPhone and iPad

December 27, 2023

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Having issues getting your AirTag setup or connected? This comprehensive guide covers all the troubleshooting steps and solutions.

When you first unbox your shiny new AirTag, you probably can’t wait to start using Apple’s latest tracking accessory. But what if, during setup, your AirTag just won’t connect or work properly with your iPhone or iPad?

Don’t worry – in most cases, it’s an easy fix.

As an Apple device expert with over 5 years of support experience, I’ve helped hundreds of users troubleshoot AirTag connectivity problems. In this detailed guide, I’ll walk you through all the common reasons an AirTag may not be working along with the step-by-step solutions.

Follow these tips and your AirTag will be up and running in no time. Let’s dive in!

Requirements to Successfully Set Up AirTag

Before troubleshooting, verify you’ve met the minimum iOS version and feature requirements:

  • iOS 14.5 or later – Earlier iOS versions don’t support AirTag setup.
  • Bluetooth enabled – AirTag connects via Bluetooth so it must be switched on.
  • Location services enabled – This allows Find My app to track devices.
  • Find My enabled – The Find My app and Find My Network need to be on.
  • 2FA enabled – Apple requires two-factor authentication for AirTag.

You’ll also need a stable internet connection via WiFi or cellular data to complete setup. According to do AirTags work internationally, AirTags function in foreign countries as expected.

Now let’s look at the most common reasons an AirTag may not be working and how to fix them.

Top 12 Fixes for AirTag Not Connecting or Working

1. Restart Your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone is one of the simplest tricks to quickly fix software glitches that may be preventing proper AirTag connectivity.

To restart an iPhone 8 or earlier, press and hold the Power button until you see “Slide to power off”. Swipe the slider, wait 30 seconds, then press the Power button again to restart.

For iPhone X or later, press and hold the Side button and either Volume button until the slider appears. Swipe to power off, wait 30 seconds, then press and hold the Side button to restart.

Restart Your Iphone

Learn more about the AirTag searching for signal animation during restart.

2. Reset Network Settings

Reset Network Settings will clear out any problematic network configs or cached data that could be causing issues with AirTag connecting.

Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Enter your passcode if asked. This will reset WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular settings among others. You can rejoin networks after restarting.

Reset Network Settings

3. Ensure Bluetooth Is Enabled

AirTag uses Bluetooth to connect with your iPhone. If Bluetooth is disabled, make sure to turn it on in Settings > Bluetooth.

Ensure Bluetooth Is Enabled

You can also try toggling Bluetooth off and back on to reset the connection.

4. Check Find My Settings

The Find My app and Find My network need to be enabled for AirTag setup.

Under Settings > [Your Name] > Find My, toggle on Find My [iPhone/iPad], Find My Network and Send Last Location.

Find My Iphone

5. Update iOS Software

Installing the latest iOS or iPadOS update can resolve bugs that may be blocking proper AirTag connectivity.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check for and install available updates.

Iphone Software Update

6. Try a Different AirTag

In rare cases, you may have a faulty AirTag with a hardware or battery issue preventing proper setup.

If possible, attempt to set up a different AirTag on your iPhone to see if it connects okay. If the new AirTag works fine, the original one may need replaced.

7. Factory Reset AirTag

Resetting your AirTag to factory settings can clear out any problematic settings.

8. Clean AirTag Surface

Ensure the white plastic surface of your AirTag is clean and free of any debris, stickers or dirt buildup. Gently wipe with a dry microfiber cloth if needed.

This allows proper Bluetooth and UWB signal connection between AirTag and iPhone.

9. Remove AirTag Accessories

If you have your AirTag in a protective case or bag, try removing it and pairing the bare AirTag first.

Non-Apple accessories can sometimes interfere with initial AirTag setup. Consider an AirTag bike mount or other holder.

10. Check AirTag Battery

The AirTag battery may have come loose or dislodged during shipping. Open the battery compartment and ensure the CR2032 battery is seated securely with the positive side facing up.

Press down firmly until you hear the battery snap into place. Learn more about how long an AirTag battery lasts.

Airtag's Battery

11. Move Closer to AirTag

When first pairing, keep your iPhone within a foot of the AirTag to ensure a strong Bluetooth connection.

If you’re trying to pair from across the room, move closer and try again while next to the AirTag.

Move Closer To Your Airtag

12. Contact Apple Support

If you still can’t get your AirTag to work after trying everything, your last resort is to contact Apple support directly.

You can request support by phone, chat or set up an appointment at an Apple store for in-person help.

AirTag Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some additional things to check when troubleshooting an AirTag not connecting or working properly:

  • Ensure you have an iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14.5 or above. Earlier models or iOS versions don’t support AirTag.
  • Make sure your iPhone is connected to the internet via WiFi or cellular data. AirTags require an internet connection to set up.
  • Only pair one AirTag at a time. If you just bought a 4-pack, pair each AirTag individually.
  • On iPhone 11 or 12, enable Ultra Wideband for Precision Finding in Settings if needed.
  • Reset your AirTag to factory settings and pair from scratch after troubleshooting.
  • Check if there are any iOS updates available as they may contain AirTag bug fixes.

Still having issues? Don’t hesitate to contact Apple support. They can run diagnostics, replace faulty units and escalate for engineering help if needed.

Preventing Future AirTag Connection Problems

To avoid AirTag problems down the road:

  • Perform iOS updates as soon as available
  • Toggle Airplane mode periodically to reset connections
  • Re-pair AirTag annually to refresh settings
  • Promptly replace CR2032 battery when notified – learn about AirTag beeping battery warnings
  • Keep AirTags away from magnets or extreme heat
  • Avoid covering AirTag with stickers, tape or thick cases

Following these best practices will help ensure your AirTags continue functioning optimally.

FAQs: Common AirTag Questions

Q: Why is my AirTag not showing up in Find My?

A: If your AirTag isn’t appearing in the Find My > Items tab, first make sure Find My is enabled in Settings. Then try resetting your AirTag by removing and reinserting the battery. Re-pair it with your iPhone afterward.

Q: Why does my AirTag say already paired to another Apple ID?

A: If you purchased a used AirTag or received a hand-me-down, it may still be linked to the original owner’s Apple ID. They will need to remotely reset the AirTag so you can pair it to your own Apple ID.

Q: How do I fix an AirTag with replace battery warning?

A: When you get the “AirTag needs new battery” alert, open the battery compartment and insert a new CR2032 battery positive side up. Press firmly until it clicks into place. The replace battery warning should disappear shortly.

Q: Can an AirTag be connected to two phones?

A: No, an AirTag can only be actively paired with one Apple device and Apple ID at a time. However, multiple people can share location access for an AirTag through Family Sharing. Learn more about connecting AirTag to two phones.

Q: Can you use an AirTag in checked luggage?

A: Yes, placing an AirTag in your checked bag can help track it if lost by the airline. But avoid putting AirTag where TSA might confuse it for an explosive device. Get tips on using AirTag in checked luggage.

Q: Do AirTags work internationally?

A: Yes, AirTags work worldwide thanks to utilizing the global Find My network. AirTags will function as expected when travelling overseas. Learn more about using AirTags internationally.