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Apple AirTag — here’s the biggest complaint families have

Apple AirTag
(Image credit: Future)

The new Apple AirTag trackers let you keep tabs on the whereabouts of your keys, wallet or any other valuable that often goes missing. And as useful as they are — our AirTag review was pretty positive about their potential — families find that AirTag falls down in one key area. They can't be used to share item locations within a family unit by way of family sharing. 

This would seem to be a job for Apple’s Family Sharing. That feature allows you and up to five other family members access Apple services. This can be mixed and matched with platforms like Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, and Apple News Plus. You can also share iTunes and App Store purchases across accounts, so there's no need to buy the same product multiple times. But unfortunately, AirTags don't seem to share the same functionality. 

Members in a Family Sharing group can see the location of others' iPhones, iPads, and other manner of Apple devices in the Find My app. Curiously, Apple has not included AirTags in this functionality, though it certainly seems as though it’s the sort of thing that should be there. As a result, disappointed users have left their complaints on the AirTag’s lack of functionality across the internet. 

Currently, the only thing users can turn on via iCloud Family Sharing is the "AirTag Detected" alert that's meant to discourage inadvertent tracking in the case of someone slipping an AirTag into the backpack or pocket of someone else. 

It’s unclear whether Apple plans to introduce this type of functionality going forward — it would seem like a natural extension of AirTag, though privacy concerns about the key finder may give Apple pause.

For what it’s worth, this is an issue other key finders have figured out. Tile’s multiple key trackers, highlighted by the Tile Pro and Tile Mate, let you share your Tile with one other address by default, with a subscription plan giving you unlimited sharing. The Chipolo One tracker has a family sharing feature, too.

Until Apple figures out the best way forward, AirTags will remain an item meant to be used by one person per tag. Group sharing may have to come at a later date, unless Apple is moved by the mass backlash. 

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.