The wait is over thanks to the folks from iFixit, who took apart not only Apple’s AirTag but also Samsung’s Smart Tag, as well as Tile’s Mate tracker – some may say “the original tracker”. The investigation led to a few takeaways, as well as more questions.
First of all, Samsung and Tile’s gadgets are considerably bigger than the AirTag. This leaves them with some room for a dedicated keyring hole, and although the AirTag lacks one, it has managed to fit similar or better tech in a much smaller body.
Here’s the drill: No keyring hole – no problem
The first surprise from the teardown comes right here, as the iFixit team has managed to drill a hole into their AirTag! It seems like it took them two attempts, with the second one being successful! They’ve used a 1/16-inch drill bit to punch a hole through the white plastic part of the tracker – at the very edge of it.
If you’d like to take the risk, make sure you’ve removed the battery. Otherwise, the AirTag doesn’t seem to have any chips, boards, or other tech parts sitting at the end of its plastic portion, so you should be safe. iFixit managed to get a perfectly functional AirTag with a dedicated keyring hole, which can save you enough money to get lunch and dinner, or even buy another AirTag!
Some people have been even more resourceful. A user under the name of anup.chavda, who commented on this MacRumors article about AirTags teardown, has managed to 3D print his own AirTag holders. He claims it costed less than 10 cents, and it took him 10 minutes to do it – of course, if you happen to have a 3D printer at home.
3D-printed AirTag holder
In order to punch a hole into your tracker, first, you need to open it up. While Samsung and Tile’s devices let you slide a fingernail between the two pieces that hold the trackers together and pull them apart, the AirTag doesn’t. Apple’s solution is more sophisticated but requires another form of sacrifice – your patience.
Then you’re welcomed by the user-replaceable battery. The folks from Cupertino and Korea have decided to go with the same CR2032 battery, said to last around 300 days for the Smart Tag and about a year on the AirTag. Tile uses a smaller CR1632 battery, so don’t be surprised if you need to change it a bit earlier.
No MagSafe. ‘Yes’ MagSpeaker.
Apple has an excellent track record when it comes to speakers – Steve Jobs, Tim Co… Ok, sorry. The point is – the company knows how to make a good sound system, at least if we count after the iPhone 7 series. All of their phones post-single speaker era deliver great stereo speakers; AirPods are praised as some of the best TWS earbuds on the market, and the MacBook is a sound champ over in the laptop world.
The AirTag doesn’t feature a traditional piezoelectric speaker, but little in this tracker is traditional. Upon opening the tracker, you’re welcomed by a very circular set of components. We don’t know if it’s intentional, but the inside of the AirTag kind of resembles Apple Park and the “spaceship” slapped in the middle of it (Apple’s headquarters).
iFixit promises to go more in-depth with the second part of the teardown, where they show detailed board shots, chip rundown, and further details about the three trackers.