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Attention Apple AirTag users: Don't ignore this warning

Do as I say, not as I do.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Apple AirTags
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Just the other day, my iPhone told me that the Apple AirTag that keeps me from losing my keys pretty much every day needed a new battery. I was away at the time (yeah, wouldn't that have been the perfect time to lose my keys) and so, unwisely chose to ignore it.

Also: 5 ways AirTags can simplify your life (beyond tracking keys)

It told me a lot of times.

These are the notifications you will get if your AirTag's battery needs to be replaced.

These are the notifications you will get if your AirTag's battery needs to be replaced.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

There are also warnings in the Find My app.

Low AirTag battery warnings in the iOS Find My app

Low AirTag battery warnings in the iOS Find My app

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

After all, it would be a few weeks before the battery died, wouldn't it?


The battery died five days later.

Also: Why these USB lithium-ion battery chargers are must-haves for my tool bag

Luckily by then, I'd got hold of a replacement, but it still felt like a close one. I've grown reliant on AirTags to bring order into the chaos I create.

And even luckier for me, I knew where my keys were when it happened.

Apple says that AirTags have a battery lifespan of "more than a year" for everyday use, which is defined as "four play sound events and one Precision Finding event per day," so depending on your usage, you might get a lot more than a year, or a lot less than a year out of the battery in your AirTag.

I got a lot less than a year. I know, because I'd replaced the battery nine months ago.

Replacing the CR2032 button cell in an AirTag is easy... when you know how!

Replacing the CR2032 button cell in an AirTag is easy... when you know how!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Replacing AirTag batteries is easy -- I've covered the process here. All you need is a good quality CR2032 button cell – I recommend Energizer, Duracell, or the Amazon Basics brands.

However, be aware that if the replacement button cell has a bitter coating to prevent children from putting it in their mouths (button cells might seem innocuous, but they can cause serious injury or even death), you might have to remove some of that bitterant for the battery to work (I go through that process in detail here).

Also: The best GPS trackers for kids with real-time location tracking

And remember to dispose of the dead button cells responsibly! They still present a danger to children when exhausted.

If you rely on Apple AirTags, I strongly suggest keeping a few CR2032 button cells handy, replace the batteries yearly or as soon as you get a notification that the battery is running out.

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