Bringing an Apple AirTag Back to Life

If you’re lazy like me, you’ll probably have a few gadgets laying about the house that have flat batteries. Some of those widgets might have been needing those batteries replaced for more than six months. If one of them is an Apple AirTag, it might not be as simple as just popping in a fresh CR2032 and closing it back up. There’s a chance that your iPhone still won’t recognise or talk to your AirTag at all, even with a new cell inserted.

If you naively thought that removing the AirTag from your Apple ID would help reset things, you’d be wrong and possibly in an even worse state than before. If your iPhone cannot connect to your AirTag, even after you’ve inserted a fresh battery, the command to delete the AirTag’s on-board configuration will not go through. You’ll end up in a no-man’s land where your Apple ID & iPhone will deny all knowledge of the AirTag, while the AirTag still thinks it’s ‘owned’ by your Apple ID but it just can’t connect.

AirTags that have been without power for a decent amount of time need to be totally reset. This can be accomplished by completing the steps in the following knowledge base article, https://support.apple.com/en-us/102577.

Despite what Apple says in their support article, it might take more than five insert and remove cycles for the AirTag to reset. It seems that depending on how long you take, it might forget its position and restart the count. My advice is just to keep repeating the process until you hear a “different” sound and don’t bother counting. In my experience, it takes 6-8 cycles to reset my AirTags.

Once you hear that “different” sound, you’ve successfully reset the AirTag. You can now close the battery lid and re-associate it with your Apple ID by bringing it close to your iPhone and completing the automatic pairing process.

P.S. The reason this article is so keyword heavy is so that I can game my own SEO and find this post again in two years time, when I inevitably have to do exactly the same thing.


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