Getting Apple AirTags_ Don't Get These Batteries!

Apple AirTags Design Flaw: Don’t Get These Batteries!

If you're looking to pick up a few of Apple's newest gadgets to help you keep track of your personal belongings, it's important to stay prepared and have extra batteries ready to go. AirTags are one of the first devices from Apple in years with replaceable batteries. Specifically, they use CR 2032 button batteries. However, not all CR 2032 batteries work. If you get a battery with the wrong type, your AirTags won't get any power.

But how can you tell whether or not your CR 2032 battery will work? Let's talk about how to tell and which CR 2032 batteries we recommend to use with your AirTags.

What Are CR 2032 Batteries?

CR 2032 batteries

The CR 2032 batteries that power your AirTags are very small batteries typically used in watches. They are a ‘button cell' that conforms with a standard (60086-3) set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). There are various different sizes of button cells within this category, and the IEC sets standards on these types. Therefore, all CR 2032 batteries are effectively the same. In that case, how is it possible that only some of these button cells don't power AirTags correctly?

Making Button Batteries Safe For Children

A CR2032 battery inside an AirTag

To answer this question about AirTags and button batteries, we need to talk about efforts to make these tiny objects safer for children. Reports of harm caused from swallowing or mishandling of button batteries by children doubled last year.

Aside from better supervision and control over these devices by parents, manufacturers have attempted to deal with the issue as well. Although manufacturers are not allowed to alter the design of the battery due to international standards, there are a few things that they can do.

One of the ways that manufacturers have chosen to help prevent children from swallowing these batteries is to give them a bitter coating on the outside of the battery. This conforms with IEC standards and also helps prevent children from swallowing them.

However, we discovered that although this coating is helpful for keeping children safe, it's not so helpful when trying to power your AirTags. We tried batteries with and without this coating, and the ones with the bitter coating did not work with AirTags without modification.

Why Will CR 2032 Batteries With Bitter Coatings Not Work With AirTags?

The reason why these button cells do not work with AirTags isn't because of the bitter coating. In fact, it's because of an oddly placed negative connector inside the AirTag casing. Instead of being in the center of the casing where it can have better contact with the button battery, it's placed closer to the top. Since the bitter coating can prevent good electrical contact, it's much more difficult to line the battery up correctly and keep it running inside the AirTag.

An image of the negative pin inside an AirTag

We're pretty sure that this design choice was made by Apple in order to make the interior of the AirTag look more consistent with Apple's brand image. That is to say, to make it look a bit more ‘cute'. However, this choice seems to have come at the cost of functionality. Because of this, it's clear that Apple did not test a wide enough variety of CR 2032 batteries from different brands. If they had done better testing, they would have been able to change the design or at least add a disclaimer about the types of batteries that would be compatible with AirTags.

We were able to get the battery to work better by scraping off the bitter taste coating off with a knife. However, we absolutely do not recommend that you try this at home. Damaging a battery can be a fire hazard and could also damage your AirTag. We recommend you get more compatible CR 2032 batteries instead.

Which Batteries Should You Get?

We recommend these CR 2032 batteries from Amazon instead. However, it's critical to remember that since these batteries do not have a bitter tasting coating it's even more important to practice good supervision and safety with your children. Do not allow them to play with or swallow these button cells, as it can prove to be a serious risk to their health.

AirTags: The Truth!

Now that you know the right kinds of batteries to get for your AirTags, you can make sure that your AirTags more reliably keep track of your valuables. Have you had any other trouble with AirTags? Let us know in the comments below!


Liam Shotwell

Hey there! I'm a content manager here at UpPhone. Feel free to reach out if I can help!

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