Apple’s privacy-respecting item tracker is sort of ping-pong of excellent news, bad news revelations. Apple has made its AirTags very easy to use, that there are concerns about the safety of the Find My network. the tiny discs are sufficiently small to put anywhere but require a separate accessor to hook into objects unless you’re taking the ill-advised route of drilling a hole. Now Apple is finding itself in a sticky situation where the AirTag’s battery is labeled as a security hazard for teenagers. In contrast, replacement batteries are required to be the child-unsafe kind.
Last month saw an Australian regulator warning about how the AirTag‘s button battery may be dangerous to kids, advising parents to stay the tracker far away from children. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) points out how easy it had been to open the battery compartment and pull out the tiny CR2032 coin battery. These batteries are known to be choking hazards, so battery manufacturers have developed a deterrent to its action.
Many small batteries make use of a bitterant coating to discourage kids (or anyone for that matter) from ingesting these dangerous products. The non-toxic chemical coating gives batteries a bitter smell and taste that ought to be enough for teenagers to lose their appetite for the tiny, shiny object. But, unfortunately, it’s that sort of battery that may not work with Apple AirTags in the least.
Apple’s documentation on replacing the AirTag’s battery notes that CR2032 batteries with bitterant coating won’t work with the AirTag. This is often probably thanks to how that very same coating interferes with the conduction of electricity. Apple does say that it depends on the alignment of the coating with battery contacts, but it’s safe to mention it’s a general recommendation not to use such bitter batteries.
On the one hand, the AirTag’s design makes it too easy for teenagers to accidentally or intentionally access the battery and potentially put it in their mouth. On the opposite hand, the recommended battery to be utilized in the AirTag is that the kind that doesn’t have the type of protection or deterrent from being ingested. Suffice it to mention; Apple reiterates the warning to stay these things far away from children, which might be a touch of a drag for folks that use AirTags to stay track of youngsters or their belongings.