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Apple AirTags Endurance Test: We dropped, washed and froze

On Apple AirTags are designed to keep track of lost items like your keys, so they are likely to be subjected to rough treatment in daily use. To find out how well the AirTags withstood the items, I put these $ 29 trackers through the squeezer (so to speak) in a wash, freeze and run test.

AirTag does not claim to be waterproof, but it is resistant to water and dust, according to Apple. It also has a user-replaceable battery, which made me even more curious to test the water resistance. It turns out that these trackers are extremely durable.

air tag-ice-cube

Lexy Savvides / CNET

Test 1: Putting AirTags through the wash

I always leave things in my pockets when I throw a load of laundry, so I decided to see what would happen if the AirTag went through the laundry.

Apple’s IP67 class means you can immerse the AirTag in three feet (one meter) of water for up to 30 minutes. A regular wash cycle takes me 54 minutes, so the AirTag could potentially be exposed to more water for a longer period of time than the official rating.

I started a regular cycle of cold laundry with detergent and threw some clothes, plus AirTag in my pants pocket. During the test, I opened the Find My app to see if the AirTag was still connected. I heard a faint sound from the tracker, even over the loud washing machine. While the signal was weak, I could still use precision detection to find the AirTag, but I had to stand quite close to the machine to register it.


Discover the AirTag.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

After the cycle was over, I took out my clothes and found that the AirTag had slipped out of my pocket and finally sat on the side of the drum of the washing machine. Thanks to the spin cycle, it was dry to the touch, but the white plastic back was slightly soiled.

I checked that it still makes a sound when I ping it in the Find My app and that precision finding works. The speaker sounded just as loud as it had before I washed the AirTag, and the precision detection worked as expected.

Test 2: Will AirTags survive low temperatures?

After the AirTag went through the washing machine, I used a fresh AirTag to simulate what would happen if you exposed the tracker to really low temperatures.

Since I live in San Francisco, which is not known for its sub-zero temperatures, the best way for me to simulate a cold climate was to put something in a freezer set to cold -2.2 degrees Fahrenheit or -19 degrees Celsius. I put the AirTag in an ice tray and left it overnight (18 hours) in the freezer to harden into a block.

During the freezing process, I checked the AirTag in the Find My app several times. For the first few hours, I could ping the tracker and hear the sound, but once the ice began to harden, I couldn’t hear the sound as before.

air label-frozen-ice

AirTag in the ice.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

After the ice cube with AirTag was solid, I took it out of the tray and used hot water to speed up the thawing process. Drying the AirTag and testing the sound and finds nearby worked as expected. Then I opened the AirTag to see if any water had made its way into the battery compartment and noticed a small droplet forming right next to the water seal. So, if your AirTag comes in contact with water (or drops your keys in the snow), you may want to open the case and delete it.

Test 3: AirTags dropout test

In its testing, CNET Patrick Holland noticed the stainless steel AirTag lid developed a few scratches after a few days on its keys in Apple’s leather holder.

Attaching a new AirTag to my keys housed in Spigen leather foil, I dropped the keys 10 times from several heights on rough pavers.


The AirTag took off from the keys at the last drop.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

After the falls, the Apple logo on the side of the stainless steel showed some scratches. But apart from the cosmetic damage, the tracker works as expected. So, if you’re really concerned about keeping your AirTag in a virgin state, you might want to consider an even more protective case.

How healthy are Apple AirTags?

In these non-scientific real-world tests, AirTags are incredibly robust and can withstand washing, freezing or a few drops, and still work as expected.

Official Apple documentation says that the resistance to splashes, dust and water are not permanent conditions and that the resistance may decrease as a result of normal wear.

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