Apple AirTag not found when battery is replaced

Sometimes it is one of those small and annoying things that disrupts your thinking much more than it should. For me today it was my Apple AirTag that resolutely refused to be ‘seen’ by the phone once I’d replaced the battery on the AirTag (a whole different story, involving mole grips and swearing).

It turns out that what I had to do was reset the AirTag. Quite how to do this is not particularly obvious, as there are no buttons switches or ports on the AirTag itself.

What you do is remove the cover (reaching for mole grips again…) and remove and replace the battery four times in succession, then do it once more. Each time you replace the battery (don’t bother putting the cover on) the AirTag makes a reassuring beepy sound. The final time is where that sound is different to the first four, and that’s when you know it has been reset. Try to add it as a device to your phone within the ‘Find My’ application and it *should* show up, allowing you to configure its name and connect it to your apple account.

Apple published this sequence for you:

Here’s how to reset your AirTag:

  1. Press down on the polished stainless steel battery cover of your AirTag and rotate anticlockwise until the cover stops rotating.
  2. Remove the cover and the battery.*
  3. Replace the battery.
  4. Press down on the battery until you hear a sound. This sound means that the battery is connected. 
  5. When the sound finishes, repeat the process four more times, removing and replacing the battery, then pressing down on the battery until you hear a sound. You should hear a sound each time you press on the battery, for a total of five sounds. The fifth sound is different from the previous four. This indicates that the AirTag is now ready to pair.

Now all I have to do is make sure it is added. Don’t look in the ‘devices’ list… it’s not a device… it’s an ‘Item’ so switch the Find My view to show items, and you’ll see it there. I think it is an ‘item’ because it is supposed to be placed with an item such as a wallet, or bicycle, or car… so you need to look for the item and not a device.

Simple – the kind of simple that Apple likes us to believe in? Nope. Not as simple as it could be… see YouTube for videos on how to lick your battery, how to make sure you don’t use Duracell batteries, what not to do, what to do… and the very fact all these videos exist is testament to the level of difficulty owning an AirTag presents to you.

Now, about those mole grips… you simply cannot ‘press down and rotate’ the back of an air tag with your hands. At least, not mine. Anything less than a set of grips and you cannot open the beast!