Can I use Apple AirTag with my Android phone?

Apple Airtag Accessories Bag
Apple Airtag Accessories Bag (Image credit: Apple)

Best answer: No, not as a tracker. The Apple AirTag will work with an Android phone via NFC when the tracker is in Lost Mode to return it to its owner.

Don't plan on buying an Apple AirTag if you use an Android phone

When Apple announced the AirTag during its Spring Loaded Event in April 2021, this question came up: "Will the Apple AirTag work with an Android phone or not?" After all, it works like all the other excellent Bluetooth trackers on the market, right? Kind of. While the Apple AirTag has Bluetooth, which can help track it down, there is much more technology inside that coin-shaped device than just Bluetooth.

Arguably the most impressive bit of technology inside the AirTag is the inclusion of UWB (ultra-wideband) that helps with locating the device down to within half an inch. You'll find NFC in the tracker as well, and that's the only part that will be compatible with Android phones. If the owner of an AirTag puts it into "Lost Mode," if found by an iPhone or Android user, the tracker's NFC tag can be scanned. The owner's contact info will be displayed on the phone so that the person can be reached.

Are there trackers similar to the Apple AirTag for Android users?

Galaxy Smarttag Lifestyle

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

Sure there are. Currently, Samsung has two trackers out — the Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag+. The standard SmartTag functions similarly to other Bluetooth trackers, whereas the plus model offers UWB for even more features.

When comparing the Apple AirTag and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+, you'll see that there are a lot of similarities between the two. Each option is currently limited to a small number of phones to get all of the benefits of the trackers. For Apple users, you have to own iPhone 11/11 Pro/12/12 Pro series, and on the Android side, you'll need to have a phone in the Galaxy S21 series of the Galaxy Z Fold 2. With Samsung's tracker, it also can be used to control your smart home in addition to helping to find your lost items.

As more devices start to support UWB, we should begin to see other phones become compatible too. Other manufacturers are starting to work on trackers with UWB technology of their own, such as OPPO and one of the most popular tracker brands, Tile. So, until then, if you want to use a tracker with similar features as the Apple AirTag, you'll need to go with Samsung. Just don't forget that if you happen across a lost AirTag that you can still do your part to reunite it with its owner.

Chris Wedel
Smart Home Writer
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.