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Recent Experience With Impressive Technology

With my parents getting older but still living independently in the Toronto area, I recently gave each of them an AirTag made by Apple.

For those who haven't heard of AirTags, they are light, coin-size devices that, through Apple's global network of iPhone users, allow us to track the location of people and things that are important to us.

Some put AirTags in suitcases while traveling to confirm via their phones in real time that their bags made it onto the same flight, and in instances of lost luggage, to locate their bags anywhere in the world.

Others attach AirTags via keychains to their pets' collars.

Some bury AirTags in their vehicles in case of theft.

And many parents have their children keep AirTags in their school backpacks for peace of mind.

Given that my parents are socially active and regularly go for long walks in a forested park, I thought it would be a good idea to have them each carry an AirTag in case of emergency - you just never know when there might be an accidental fall or some other unforeseeable issue that could cause an elderly person to become lost.

The other day, I noticed via the tracking app (called Find My) on my iPhone that my dad was at a hospital in north Toronto, while my mom was at a park in west Toronto - this made me worry a bit, as neither would answer their phone, and when they are away from their condo, they are typically together.

When my mom called me a while later, I was relieved to learn that they were both at the park together, and were in the car on their way home. This is when we realized that my dad had left his AirTag at the hospital earlier that morning when he went for a CT scan.

The next day, I drove to the hospital, as I could see on my phone that my dad's AirTag was still there. I explained the situation to a security guard, who was kind enough to walk me back to the CT department. I was pleasantly surprised to see on my phone that as I got closer to the AirTag, the app showed how many meters I was from its location - this was extraordinarily helpful, as when we made a wrong turn down a hallway, the app showed me that I was getting further away from the AirTag.

Finally, when I was within 1 meter of the AirTag in a busy reception area, I pressed a button on the app that triggered the AirTag to make a beeping noise, and amazingly, my dad's AirTag started beeping at me from a table that had a row of printers. The security guard, a nearby receptionist, and I were in awe at our first experience with tracking down a lost AirTag - sporting goofy smiles, we all took turns fist bumping to celebrate.

It was an eye-opening experience that allowed me to see firsthand how helpful such technology can be in locating people and things.

Over the weekend, I returned my dad's AirTag to him, and put both his and my mom's AirTags in simple silicone rings that clip onto their keychains.

I learned that there is a lost mode feature with AirTags where the owner can have their phone number or e-mail address plus a simple message indicating that the AirTag has been lost appear on the iPhone of anyone who happens to find it - what an amazingly helpful way to leverage the Apple ecosystem.

I'm not sure if such technology exists for Android phones, but I'm grateful that Apple offers such a thing. Even when work or life circumstances might take me to a far off place, from anywhere on earth, I can see if my loved ones are safe at home.

For those who have never seen AirTags, they are available at the Apple Store and at Amazon:

I have our AirTags in these silicone cases/keychains to easily attach them to things:

In Canada, AirTags are also available through Amazon:

Silicone cases/keychains for AirTags at Amazon Canada:

Please note that AirTags only work with iPhones. For those who use phones with the android operating system, I would guess that a similar tracking device is available.

Hope this is helpful to some out there.


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