Why is my AirTag beeping? What each chime means

An Apple AirTag, held between a user's fingers in front of a blurred green background
(Image credit: Apple)

If your AirTag is beeping or making random noises, you should know what the sounds mean and how to stop them. In fact, there are a few different reasons why your AirTag could be chirping.

Like other best key finders out there, Apple AirTags are item trackers that can help you keep tabs on your belongings. Whether you attach one to your keys, throw one in your suitcase or slip one in your wallet, an AirTag will let you know where your items are at all times. Their locations and settings can be managed within the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad.

Perhaps the most useful role of an AirTag is that it can lead you to the location of a lost item. Not only will your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch give you directions to a lost item, but the connected AirTag will beep to give you an audible cue to follow.

But those beeps don’t only happen when you’re searching for your AirTag — sometimes, the AirTag can be making noise for other reasons. Here’s your guide to what those sounds might mean. (You can also watch Apple's AirTag YouTube video to hear what different AirTag chimes sound like.)

The AirTag is signaling a lost item (on purpose or by accident)

The most obvious reason an AirTag is beeping is that it’s initiated the signal to help you find a lost item. It’s also how someone else might be able to help you find your lost item. If it’s lost somewhere you’re far from, a Good Samaritan can hold their iPhone to the AirTag to report the item as found. In some cases, this could be your best chance at reuniting with your missing item.

That said, you might’ve accidentally triggered lost mode on your AirTag. If you hear your AirTag beeping and you’re not sure why, check the Find My app on your iOS device. You might see that you enabled tracking by mistake. Our guide to how AirTags work can help you navigate the tracking functionality of an AirTag you own.

The AirTag could be tracking you

There are measures in place to let you know when an AirTag is moving with you, whether or not its owner enabled lost mode. If you hear a beeping sound, and discover an AirTag that doesn’t belong to you, it could be tracking your location without your knowing. This will happen when your iPhone identifies an AirTag moving with you.

If you think an unknown AirTag might be following you, or even get an alert on your iPhone that an AirTag is moving with you, you can locate it from the Find My app. The chime it makes is unique from both the regular lost mode sound and sound that plays autonomously when an AirTag is moving with you.

Be sure to read our guide to how to tell if an AirTag is stalking you. Even if you’re not currently suspicious or being alerted to an unknown AirTag, it’s important to know what to do if you ever face this situation. 

The AirTag is ready for setup

The final two chimes associated with AirTags are heard during setup. One chime plays when an AirTag is ready to be set up, and the other plays when setup is complete. If you’ve just bought a new AirTag, these are some sounds you might hear.

Is your AirTag still beeping?

If your AirTag is still beeping and you’re not sure why, try resetting your AirTag, updating the AirTag’s software or changing the AirTag battery. Here’s our guide to how to factory reset your AirTags.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.