When AirTag In lost mode, all NFC-enabled devices – including those with Android – can read the locator’s preprogrammed recognition message, a small but potentially important feature that can be helpful when returning lost items.
The NFC functionality was glossed over during the “Spring Loaded” event on Tuesday, but it is new Support document provides additional details on this feature.
According to Apple, picking up and tapping the white portion of a lost AirTag on an NFC-enabled device will redirect it to a webpage that can display an owner’s phone number. Additional information such as the serial number of the AirTag is also offered.
AirTag users must provide their contact information during the setup process and put the device into lost mode for the feature to work.
Apple points out in its support document that Android devices can also interact with an AirTag in lost mode.
“You can view a lost mode message on any NFC-enabled smartphone such as an iPhone or Android phone,” says Apple.
It should come as no surprise that Apple added support for NFC, a widely used communication protocol, to the diminutive tracker. In addition to Android, a variety of other popular computing devices offer NFC support, which greatly increases the effectiveness of AirTag.
AirTag’s main mode of communication is an ultra-broadband radio, used in Apple’s U1 chip, that sends pulses to other U1-equipped hardware such as the iPhone. The tracker’s precision finding function is supported by UWB and is currently available exclusively for the iOS platform. It also uses Bluetooth to communicate with Apple devices, which then send information about nearby AirTags and their location data to the Find My network.