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How to change the battery on an AirTag

The battery is a commonly available CR2032 one.

Last updated

It's been over two years since AirTag shipped, and if you got one at launch, it's again time to replace that battery before it dies on you. Here's how to do it.

An AirTag battery will last for a bit longer than a year, and your iPhone will warn you when that battery is low. But since you don't know how good your battery is anymore until you get to that point, that's potentially a big problem.

Maybe you get the low battery warning in the first hour of your one-month ocean cruise, for instance. And then your luggage gets lost coming off the boat at the end of the trip.

You can be sure that Apple won't wait until the last moment to give you a low battery notification. But if Apple could properly predict how much longer an AirTag charge will last, it would be better at showing us the percentage charge remaining, since it doesn't do it at all anymore.

Unlike when it launched, Apple now gives you no way to see an AirTag's percentage battery charge remaining. You can presume, though, that an AirTag will last about a year.

AirTag battery life depends on usage. And the only time you're going be using it is when you've lost something.

How to maximize AirTag battery life

So part of knowing how to change an AirTag battery is to know when. To maximize the battery life in your AirTag before you have to replace it, do this:

  1. Don't activate the AirTag until you actually need it.
  2. Once you activate it, add "Replace AirTag battery" to your To Do app
  3. Set that task to reoccur every 11 months

If your To Do app supports tags, you could tag that task with something like "vacation." Then when you're planning that holiday, the To Do app could surface that battery reminder.

It's definitely true that waiting to activate an AirTag until it's needed will save battery power. The battery will decline by itself over time, but until you've pulled the plastic tab out to put the battery in contact with the AirTag, it's not going to drain power.

But note that unless you activate an AirTag, you can't find it with Find My. So it is possible to have bought a set of AirTags, left them until your vacation week, and then not be able to find them.

Once you have activated them, make that To Do note about replacement. That way when you get a "Replace AirTag battery" reminder, you can make an informed decision about whether you're close to the quoted 12 months or not.

Still, whether you do it early, wait for Apple's notification, or only do it after you find that the battery has completely died, you're going to have to replace it at some point.

How to replace the battery in an AirTag

  1. Turn the AirTag over so that the silver side is facing you
  2. Press down with your thumbs on opposite edges of the silver casing
  3. Keep pressing down and rotate counterclockwise
  4. When the silver top is loose, remove it
  5. Take out the battery that's now exposed
  6. Insert a new CR2032 battery with the positive + sign up
  7. Replace the silver top cover
  8. Press down with your thumbs and rotate the cover clockwise

You'll hear the AirTag give a little chime, very similar to the ones you hear if you ever need to reset one. And then you're done.

For about another year, anyway.