Airtag Not Updating Location? Try These 15 Fixes

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Airtag Not Updating Location

Users have been reporting cases where, instead of showing the location of the AirTag, the app displays the Last Seen time of the AirTag; or it takes too long to update the location; or the location does not even update at all.

While this can be an error or malfunction, it could also be normal depending on the location and state of the AirTag.

In this article, we will examine all the possible reasons why you may be unable to track your AirTag, and why you encounter issues like taking too long to update location or displaying the Last Seen message.

How Long Does It Take for AirTag to Update Location?

For AirTag to work properly and allow you keep track of its location (and of the device you are tracking with it), AirTag has to constantly refresh or update its location. The update frequency determines how accurate the location is at any given time.

AirTag Location Update Frequency

First of all, it is important to understand how AirTag location works. Normally, you can quickly track your AirTag with Bluetooth to within about 800ft. However, if the AirTag is outside range of your Bluetooth, you can still find and track it as long as it is within range of the Bluetooth of any Apple device. Apple’s Find My network then uses the closest device to locate the AirTag and ping its location to you.

The normal update frequency for the AirTag location is every 60 to 120 seconds. By normal, this means that the AirTag is either within your Bluetooth range or within close range of the Bluetooth of other users’ Apple devices. The more the devices around, the faster the update location refresh.

However, if your AirTag is far from the range of Bluetooth on Apple devices or in a completely deserted area, update frequency will be a lot slower or will cease completely.

AirTag Showing Wrong Location

Many users have found that AirTag sometimes does not show its correct location. For some users, when they open the Find My app to check the AirTag’s location, it shows a location slightly different to its actual location. For other users, it shows a location that they probably haven’t been to in months. There is no publicly-known technical reason for this. Apple say that it is a glitch that can be resolved either by restarting your iPhone or resetting the AirTag.

Why Does My AirTag Say Last Seen

If you are on social media or use a chat app, you may be familiar with the Last Seen feature. It means the last time the person was online. The same principle applies to your AirTag. Remember that your AirTag sends its whereabouts or location information to Apple devices around it. The devices then relay the location information to the Find My network, which in turn relays the information to you.

If your AirTag has not been around an Apple device on the Find My network for a long time, it is not “online” for that period and you only get to see the last time it was around an Apple device. This is why you see the Last Seen message for your AirTag.

In summary, Last Seen is the last time your AirTag was able to contact an Apple device that was able to transmit its location to the Find My network. And, if the Last Seen is a long time ago, it is likely that your AirTag is in a deserted area.

Why is Airtag Location Not Updating

Before exploring the possible reasons why your AirTag location is not updating, you need to first understand what your AirTag needs to update its location.

  • AirTag has to be within range of devices that support and be configured for the Find My
  • The devices have to be updated
  • Find My network and tracking have to be supported in your region by local law
  • Using a Managed Apple ID will not work with AirTag
  • Location Services has to be on your device
  • Bluetooth has to be turned on on the other devices around your AirTag

From these you can already see that there are several factors that need to be in place for AirTag to update its location frequently. Apart from the factors above, there are other possible reasons why AirTag location may not update. We have outlined them and provided solutions to them below:

1. The Airtag Hasn’t Moved

If it seems that your AirTag is not updating its location, the most basic reason is that it has actually not changed its location. For the location of your AirTag to change, it has to move a meaningful distance from its current location.

There is no feature on AirTag or the Find My app that provides live text feed telling you that your device has not moved in the last minute or ten. It only displays location which changes as the AirTag moves.

Fix – Wait for It to Move

When the location of your AirTag on the Find My app does not change for a while, you need to give it time because it may be that the location hasn’t actually changed.

Please note that this applies if you are not physically present with the AirTag and cannot tell whether it has moved or not. If you are absolutely sure that the AirTag has moved and the location still does not update, then there is a glitch or bug which can be fixed by trying other solutions in this article.

2. There Isn’t Another Apple Device Nearby

If you are sure that your AirTag has moved, or if you feel that you have waited long enough, another thing to consider is that the AirTag may not be around supported Apple devices at the time.

To be clear, AirTag only sends its location information to you if you are within Bluetooth range of it. If you are no longer within range, you have to depend solely on other Apple devices around the AirTag in order to receive location information.

Also, these devices have to have Bluetooth turned on, and have to be within range of the AirTag signals.

Fix – Wait for Another iPhone to Come Near AirTag

The great thing about AirTag is that it does not rely solely on iPhones. iPad, iPod Touch devices and MacBooks all work with AirTag to receive signals and send location information to the Find My network.

Another advantage is that the devices do not have to be connected to the internet to send these signals. Find My network is an ultra-wide banded connection of billions of Apple devices across the globe. So, the chances of your AirTag being in a position where it can’t send out signals is significantly reduced…unless of course you are in an isolated area.

So, when your AirTag location is not updating, it is likely that there are no devices around and this can change quickly as long as you are not in a deserted location. Wait it out and see if the location updates.

3. It’s Fallen Off Whatever You’ve Put it on and Hasn’t Moved

You can attach your AirTag to keys, place it in a wallet or bag, fix it on a dog collar, and so on. AirTags are not magnetic, nor do they have hooks, ports, or anything to fasten them securely to whatever you are tracking.

Because of this design flaw (if we dare say so), AirTags have been known to fall off from to time. This can be annoying because it defeats the purpose of the AirTag in the first place. But unless Apple make changes to the design of the tracking device, you may need to find ingenious ways to secure your AirTag to the device you are tracking.

Fix – Try to Find it and Put it Back on

Since the location has not changed in a while, and it is possible that it simply fell off, all you need to do is use the Find My app to track and locate the last seen of the AirTag using the steps below:

1. Open the Find My App on your phone

2. Select the Items tab

3. Select the AirTag you want to locate

4. The location of the AirTag will be displayed

5. If the AirTag is nearby, you can use Find Nearby to get the precise location

7. You could also use Play Sound to make the AirTag play a sound for easier location.

8. Or, you could just ask Siri where the device is. For example, Siri Where Are My Keys

If the AirTag isn’t nearby or just can’t be located on the map, please follow the steps below:

1. Open the Find My App on your phone

2. Select the Items tab

3. Select the AirTag you want to locate

4. Scroll down until your see Lost Mode, then tap Enable

5. Tap Continue

6. Enter your contact phone and select Next

7. Toggle to turn on Notify When Found

After finding your AirTag, we recommend that you use peripherals to secure your AirTag onto the device you are tracking, such as inserting it into a leather keychain for your keys.

4. You’re Not Waiting Long Enough

Under normal circumstances, your AirTag should refresh its location every 60 to 120 seconds. If there are Apple devices around with Bluetooth enabled, this location information is sent instantly to your device.

However, there may be occasions where:

  • There is interference to the Bluetooth signals being sent from your AirTag
  • Apple device location is not close enough for strong Bluetooth reception
  • There may be a lag in the Find My network which causes delay in updating your device location

In any of these cases, the location may take a longer time to refresh on your Find My app.

Fix – Wait For the Location to Update

One key thing to note about AirTags is that they do not have a GPS or any other location finding feature. They are totally unaware of where they are. They rely completely on your phone Bluetooth (if you are nearby), or the Bluetooth on other people’s Apple devices, and the efficiency of the Find My network to transmit location information to you.

Some users have reported that the location of their AirTag sometimes took up to 30 minutes to update. So, it is a good idea to just wait for the Find My network to receive and transmit the location information to you.

5. It’s In A Remote Area or There’s No Signal

Some users report that they sometimes suddenly lose track of their AirTag. If your AirTag is attached to a moving object or person, it very likely that those moments where you do not receive location update are times where the AirTag is out of range of the Find My network.

As you may already know, the Find My network is a network of all the Apple devices in the world connected using Bluetooth, internet (cellular and WIFI), and ultra-wideband signals.

If your AirTag goes into an area where none of these signals is available, you will not receive location updates from the Find My network. It could be that the AirTag is in a remote area or it is just in an area where none of the Find My technologies are active.

Fix – Wait For the AirTag to Get Into Better Location

It seems that there is a lot of waiting to do with AirTags and that is indeed the case. Because of the way AirTags are made, you are often at the mercy of circumstances beyond your control, and all you can do it wait.

6. AirTag Battery is Dead

Users are torn between wanting AirTags to be rechargeable and leaving them the way they currently are. As you may well know, AirTag uses a single CR2032 lithium coin battery which is not rechargeable.

The battery has a lifespan of about one year with above-average use. In fact, with Apple testing, the use case was everyday use with four play sound events and one Precision Finding event daily.

If you use your AirTag more frequently (or intensely) than that, the lifespan may be much less than a year. Also, according to Apple, the battery life is affected by environmental factors among other things. If you are using a replacement battery, the battery life is also dependent on the quality the manufacturer produces.

With this in mind, if you have used your AirTag for a considerable period of time and suddenly find that it is no longer updating location, it is possible that the battery is either very weak or dead

Fix – Replace Battery

We recommend replacing the AirTag battery every 10 months. This gives you sufficient use and also prevents you from being stranded by a dead battery when you need your AirTag working.

You can also monitor the battery life of your AirTag on Find My using the steps below:

1. Open the Find My app on your phone

2. Select the Items tab

3. Select your AirTag

4. At the top right or left of the window that pops up, you will find the battery level with Now written beside it

Normally, you should not need to monitor the battery because your iPhone sends notification when the battery is running low. However, some users reported that this did not work for them. This usually happens when there is damage to the battery rather than a natural end of life.

7. AirTag is Dirty

AirTag works by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple devices nearby. These signals can be obstructed by large metal objects, wireless speakers, microwaves, baby monitors. But, one often-overlooked factor that could cause AirTags to not transmit signals properly is dirt.

Because of the purpose and use of AirTags, it is not uncommon for them to be found among dirt and in dusty areas. Dirt could interfere with Bluetooth signals and when this happens, the signals sent by your AirTag may be too weak to be picked up by a nearby device for forwarding to the Find My network.

Fix – Clear AirTag

1. Clear the AirTag of any dirt and thick smudges.

2. Avoid using them for purposes that expose them to dirt. It could cause your AirTag to stop working completely

3. Do not leave your AirTag exposed. It is best to put it in a leather strap before attaching it to any device.

8. AirTag Broken

Again, because of the use cases of AirTags, they are exposed to falls, contact with hard objects, and other sources of damage. A reason why your AirTag is not updating its location is probably because it is broken or damaged in some other way.

Fix – Replace AirTag

Always examine your AirTag for cracks and other signs of physical damage. If you find that your AirTag is broken, you simply need to replace it from a reliable store.

9. Bug/Glitch

The final possible reason why your AirTag is not updating its location is because there may be a bug on the AirTag, your phone or the Find My app on your phone.

Fix – Turn Airplane Mode On Then Off

AirTag will not work if your phone is in airplane mode. However, turning airplane mode on then off will reset all the network connection – internet, mobile, ultra-wideband – and clear minor glitches that may be causing the location not to update on your phone.

Fix 2 – Make Sure Find My App is Enabled

Normally, when setting up AirTag, all you need to do is bring it close to your iPhone with Bluetooth turned on, and you will get a prompt to pair.

Because of this, some users forget to actually enable Find My after setting up their AirTag. Please ensure that Find My app is enabled on your phone using the steps below:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap your name, then tap Find My.

3. Tap on Find my Phone to turn it on

4. To see your device even when it’s offline, turn on Find My network

5. To have the location of your device sent to Apple when the battery is low, turn on Send Last Location.

All of these settings will also apply to your AirTag, making it easy to find and also to know its last location before it went offline.

Fix 3 – Re-add AirTag

If you have everything set up properly and the issue of not updating location persists, you may reset the connection of your AirTag to your phone. This is done by removing and then re-adding it on your phone. To do this:

1. Open the Find My app on your phone

2. Go to the Items tab

3. Select the AirTag you want to remove

4. Scroll down and select Remove Item

5. Confirm Remove

6. Restart your phone

With the AirTag close to your phone you should get a prompt to connect it. If not:

1. Open the Find My app on your phone again

2. Go to Items tab

3. Select Add Item

4. Select the AirTag, name it and complete the setup

Fix 4 – Restart Location Services

The next fix to try if re-adding AirTag does not work is to restart location services. It is possible that the location services on your phone is frozen or suffering a glitch hence the location of the AirTag not updating.

To restart location services:

1. Open Settings on your phone

2. Select Privacy

3. Tap on Location Services to turn it Off

4. Wait 60 seconds, then tap it again to turn it On

Fix 5 – Reset Network Settings

It could also be that the network settings on your phone are glitching making your phone unable to communicate with the Find My network. Resetting your network settings will remove your saved network passwords, VPN and other network settings, so you need to beware of that.

To reset network settings:

1. Open Settings on your Phone

2. Select General

3. Select Reset

4. Select Reset Network Settings

Fix 6 – Update Software

If your phone and the AirTag software are not up to date, you will experience glitches like AirTag location not updating. You may recall that at the beginning of this article, we listed updated OS as one of the requirements for AirTag to work properly.

To get the latest updates in AirTag, you need to be running iOS 14.5 or later. Once you have that, AirTag updates automatically when it is within Bluetooth range of your phone only.

To check for updates on your iPhone:

1. Open Settings on your phone

2. Select General

3. Select Software Update

4. Select the Update to install it

Fix 7 – Reset Airtag

The final fix to try when your AirTag won’t update its location is to reset the AirTag to factory settings and re-add it using the steps below:

1. Press down on the battery cover at the back of your AirTag and rotate counterclockwise until the cover stops rotating.
Remove the battery, then replace the battery

2. Press down on the battery until you hear a sound for proper connection

3. Repeat the process four more times by 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
  • This means that you should hear 5 sounds in total
  • The fifth sound is different from the first 4. This fifth sound is the pairing sound

4. Now, replace the battery cover by aligning the three tabs on the cover with the three slots on your AirTag.

5. Press down on the cover.

6. Rotate the cover clockwise until it stops rotating

7. Then accept the connection request on your phone to pair again.

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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