How to Fix AirTag Not Connecting or Working: Troubleshooting Guide

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Jason

Airtag Not Working

Are you having trouble getting your new AirTag set up or connected to your iPhone? Don’t worry, this comprehensive guide covers all the common reasons AirTags may not be working properly, along with step-by-step solutions to get them functioning again quickly. As an Apple device expert with over 5 years of support experience, I’ve helped countless users resolve AirTag connectivity problems.

Requirements for AirTag Setup

Before attempting to troubleshoot an unresponsive AirTag, first verify that your device meets these minimum requirements:

  • iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14.5 or higher
  • Bluetooth turned on
  • Location Services enabled
  • Find My app and Find My network activated
  • Two-factor authentication set up on Apple ID
  • Active internet connection via WiFi or cellular data

It’s also important to note that AirTags function internationally and in foreign countries as expected, so you can use them confidently while traveling abroad.

Top 12 Fixes for AirTag Not Connecting or Working

Let’s dive into the most common reasons an AirTag may fail to connect or work properly, along with proven solutions to resolve the issues.

1. Restart Your iPhone

One of the simplest yet most effective troubleshooting steps is to restart your iPhone. This can clear out minor software glitches that could be interfering with AirTag connectivity.

Restart Your Iphone

For iPhone 8 or earlier:

  1. Press and hold the Power button until “slide to power off” appears
  2. Swipe the power off slider and wait 30 seconds
  3. Press the Power button again until the Apple logo appears

For iPhone X and later:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either Volume button
  2. Swipe the “slide to power off” slider
  3. Wait 30 seconds, then hold the Side button to restart

Learn more about what the AirTag “searching for signal” animation means during the restart process.

2. Reset Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings clears out any problematic configurations or corrupt data in the network stack that could be blocking your AirTag connection. Here’s how to do it:

Reset Network Settings
  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Go to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone
  3. Tap Reset > Reset Network Settings
  4. Enter your passcode if prompted
  5. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm

This will erase your saved WiFi networks, Bluetooth connections, VPN and APN settings. After your iPhone restarts, you’ll need to manually rejoin any previously connected networks.

3. Ensure Bluetooth is Enabled

Since AirTag relies on Bluetooth to communicate with your iPhone, a disabled Bluetooth connection will prevent the two devices from pairing. Follow these steps to verify Bluetooth is switched on:

Ensure Bluetooth Is Enabled
  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Bluetooth
  3. Check that the switch is toggled to the green “on” position

You can also try toggling Bluetooth off, waiting 10 seconds, then turning it back on to reset the connection.

4. Check Find My Settings

In order for AirTag to function properly, the Find My network must be enabled on your iPhone. Additionally, the Find My app itself needs to be configured to allow AirTag connections.

In Settings > [Your Name] > Find My, look for these options:

Find My Iphone
  • Find My iPhone – should be toggled on
  • Find My network – should be toggled on
  • Send Last Location – should be toggled on

With those settings in place, your iPhone will be able to leverage Apple’s global Find My network to locate and pair with your AirTags.

5. Update iOS Software

Keeping your iPhone updated with the latest version of iOS is important for ensuring compatibility with AirTags and benefiting from any bug fixes or improvements. To check for available updates:

Iphone Software Update
  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to General > Software Update
  3. If an update is available, tap Download and Install

Pro Tip: Enable automatic updates in Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates to ensure you never miss an important update.

6. Try a Different AirTag

In rare instances, you may have received a faulty AirTag with a hardware issue or dead battery that simply won’t connect no matter what. To rule this out, try setting up a different AirTag with your iPhone and see if it connects successfully.

If the second AirTag pairs and works as expected, then the original AirTag is likely defective and needs to be replaced. You can pursue a warranty exchange with Apple Support.

7. Factory Reset AirTag

As a last resort, you can completely reset your AirTag to its factory default settings. This wipes out any existing configurations and lets you start the setup process from scratch. Here’s how:

  1. Press down on the stainless steel back of the AirTag
  2. Rotate counterclockwise until the cover stops rotating
  3. Remove the cover and battery
  4. Reinsert the battery with the positive side facing down
  5. Press the battery down until you hear a sound
  6. Repeat this process 4 more times. On the 5th press, the sound will be different
  7. Replace the cover and rotate clockwise until it locks

After resetting, bring your iPhone close to the AirTag again to initiate the pairing process. Learn more about what to do if you see AirTag not reachable, move iPhone closer to connect.

8. Clean AirTag Surface

Any dirt, debris or grime built up on the white surface of your AirTag can interfere with its ability to make a strong connection via Bluetooth and ultra-wideband (UWB).

Gently wipe down the plastic top and stainless steel back with a dry microfiber cloth. Remove any stickers or adhesives as well. A clean AirTag is a happy AirTag.

9. Remove AirTag Accessories

If you’ve already placed your AirTag inside a protective case, sleeve or keychain holder, try removing those accessories temporarily. Some third-party AirTag cases can block the connection, especially if they are made of metal or thick materials.

Pair the bare, freshly cleaned AirTag with your iPhone first, then place it back into the accessory afterward. Stick to cases made from softer materials like silicone or TPU. Consider using an AirTag bike mount or AirTag passport holder instead.

10. Check AirTag Battery

Each AirTag comes with a standard CR2032 coin cell battery installed. However, it’s possible the battery came loose during shipping and needs to be reseated. It may also be completely drained or even missing.

Follow the process above in the “Factory Reset AirTag” section to remove the back cover and check the battery:

  • Ensure the CR2032 battery is present
  • Make sure the positive (+) side is facing up
  • Press the battery down firmly until it clicks into place

If the battery is more than a year old or was exposed to extreme temperatures, consider replacing it with a brand new CR2032 battery before attempting to pair again. Learn how to replace an AirTag battery and how long an AirTag battery lasts.

Airtag's Battery

11. Move Closer to AirTag

AirTags rely on close-range Bluetooth communication to pair with a host device. If you’re trying to connect an AirTag from several feet away, the signal may be too weak.

When setting up the AirTag for the first time, place your iPhone within a few inches of the AirTag. This ensures the strongest possible Bluetooth connection. Once paired, you can separate them up to the normal Bluetooth range of around 30 feet.

Move Closer To Your Airtag

12. Contact Apple Support

If you’ve thoroughly attempted all the troubleshooting steps above and your AirTag still refuses to connect or function properly, it’s time to contact the experts at Apple Support for further assistance.

You can reach them via phone, online chat or schedule an in-person appointment at your local Apple Store Genius Bar. They have access to advanced diagnostic tools and replacement options that can finally resolve your AirTag woes.

To open a new case with Apple Support:

  1. Go to support.apple.com
  2. Click on AirTags
  3. Select the issue you’re having
  4. Choose to Connect with Apple via phone, chat or in-store visit

Additional AirTag Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some further tips and best practices to keep in mind when diagnosing AirTag issues:

  • Only pair one AirTag at a time, especially if setting up multiple from a new pack
  • If you have an iPhone 11 or 12, go to Settings > AirTag and toggle on Precision Finding
  • Avoid covering your AirTag with thick stickers or tape which can interfere with the connection
  • Keep AirTags out of contact with magnets or leaving in extremely hot environments
  • iOS updates can contain AirTag bug fixes and compatibility improvements

Preventing Future AirTag Connection Issues

Once you have your AirTag up and running, you’ll want to take some precautions to avoid experiencing connection issues in the future:

  • Keep your iPhone updated to the latest compatible version of iOS
  • Toggle Airplane mode on/off periodically to refresh the connections
  • Re-pair AirTags from scratch at least once a year
  • Promptly replace CR2032 battery when you get low battery alerts or hear your AirTag beeping with battery warnings
  • Store AirTags in a cool, dry location away from magnets and liquids
  • Use an open, ventilated case to avoid blocking the signal

Following these preventative measures will help keep your AirTags healthy and connected long term.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

A: First, verify the Find My network is enabled in Settings > [name] > Find My. If so, reset the AirTag by removing/reinserting the battery, then re-pair it. The AirTag should then appear in the Items tab.

Q: What do I do if it says my AirTag is already linked to another Apple ID?

A: In this case, the AirTag was likely previously owned by someone else and still attached to their account. The original owner will need to remotely remove the AirTag from their Apple ID before you can pair it to yours.

Contact the seller if you purchased a used AirTag, and have them remote “Remove Item” from their Find My iPhone app.

Q: How do I fix an AirTag showing the “replace battery” warning?

A: When you see a notification that your AirTag’s battery is low, you’ll need to replace it immediately. Open the back cover, remove the old CR2032 battery, insert a new one positive side up, then close the cover until it locks. The low battery warning should resolve soon after.

Q: Can you pair an AirTag with multiple iPhones or Apple IDs simultaneously?

A: No, an AirTag can only link to one Apple ID at a time. However, you can leverage Family Sharing to let friends or family help locate your items. Invite them from Settings > [name] > Family Sharing > Add Member. Learn more about whether AirTags can be connected to two phones.

Q: Is it safe to pack an AirTag in checked luggage at the airport?

A: Yes, Apple has confirmed that AirTags are compliant with aviation regulations and safe to use in checked bags. Just avoid placing the AirTag in a location that could be mistaken for a suspicious device by TSA agents or baggage scanners. If asked, inform TSA it’s a harmless tracking device.

Q: Do AirTags still work outside of the country they were purchased in?

A: Absolutely! AirTags tap into Apple’s global Find My network which spans over 150 countries around the world. Your AirTags will continue working internationally without any extra configuration. Just make sure your iPhone is connected to WiFi or cellular data overseas.

Key Takeaways

  • AirTag connectivity issues can usually be resolved with basic troubleshooting
  • Restart your iPhone, reset network settings and update iOS to eliminate bugs
  • Check Bluetooth and Find My settings to ensure they are properly enabled
  • Clean the AirTag and remove accessories that could interfere with connection
  • Reseat AirTag battery and replace if low or dead to maintain power
  • Reset AirTag and re-pair at close range if still not connecting
  • Contact Apple Support if AirTag is faulty or not working after all steps
  • Prevent future issues by updating iOS, refreshing connections and replacing battery
  • AirTags are safe for travel and work internationally with no extra setup

With these tips in your back pocket, you’re now prepared to troubleshoot and solve any AirTag connection problems that come your way. By methodically ruling out common causes and implementing proven fixes, you’ll have your AirTags obeying again in no time.

Happy tracking!

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