What The Tech: AirTags and Halloween

CHARLOTTE N.C.- The scariest part of Halloween for many parents is trying to keep up with their kids out trick-or-treating. For young children, that’s not much of an issue since their parents are walking with them. It’s a different story when kids get to be old enough to roam the neighborhood with friends. How can parents track their location?

If they have a smartphone, either an iPhone or Android device, it’s pretty easy through the smartphone apps such as Life360. For kids without a smartphone, there are a couple of options.

Apple AirTags is the best solution for families who use iPhones. The tags are about the size of a quarter and can be placed in a pocket or in a holder that comes with a clip they can attach anywhere. I found a set of 6 plastic AirTag holders on Amazon for under $10.

To set up an AirTag, just hold it close to an iPhone and follow the instructions. You’ll want to give the tag a name which you can change at any time. So once Halloween is over and you want to track luggage, a backpack, or keys, it’s easy to locate them in the FindMy app.

Once that’s done, the precise location of the AirTag will show up on the parent’s iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer with the FindMy app. It is precise. Showing where exactly where the tag is. It’s so accurate, it shows which side of the street it is on in real time.

How does it do that? By pinging nearby iPhones. Since so many people have their iPhones with them, the AirTag constantly updates its location over Bluetooth and GPS by connecting to the other iPhones.

AirTags only works for iPhones and Mac computers. If parents have Android devices, check out Samsung’s SmartThings trackers. These work with some Android phones and on later versions of Android.

Another Android option is a Gizmo smartwatch from Verizon. They’re $100 and require a $6 a-month subscription to track over your Verizon cellular plan.