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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The AirTag's built-in NFC coil can be used by the Apple Shortcuts app to trigger automations, it has been found.

airtag-in-hand.jpg

The functionality, noticed by iCulture, allows users to trigger Shortcuts by simply tapping the top of their iPhone on the white plastic side of the AirTag. As Shortcuts are completely user-configurable, and can be used to initiate an almost infinite number of actions, the fact that the AirTag can be used to trigger automations opens up new possibilities for automating HomeKit scenes, app behavior, and more.


The AirTag's NFC coil is intended to be used by people who may find a lost AirTag. When the AirTag has been put into Lost Mode by its owner, someone who finds the lost AirTag can scan it with an iPhone or Android device using NFC to get a link to the owner's contact details so that it can be returned. Functionality as a Shortcuts automation trigger appears to simply be a bonus use for the NFC coil.

Article Link: AirTags Work as an NFC Trigger for Apple Shortcuts
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68020
Aug 15, 2009
2,372
6,200
USA
I’m trying to convince myself to get an AirTag to try out. I’m familiar with NFC triggers using far cheaper NFC tags. What’s an example of using an AirTag for this scenario?
 

DG808

macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2011
14
40
I’m trying to convince myself to get an AirTag to try out. I’m familiar with NFC triggers using far cheaper NFC tags. What’s an example of using an AirTag for this scenario?
The scenario that I'm now considering is placing it on a backpack and having a shortcut to trigger that turns off my lights / HomeKit stuff, switches off the WiFi on my phone, and enables Noise Cancelling on my AirPods.

I know that all of that can be done with a cheaper NFC tag, but adding the ability to locate my backpack is ideal.
 

RedTheReader

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2019
319
727
The possibilities are endless! I am curious how many people use AirTags for this instead of just sticking with more standard NFC Tags, though.
 
Last edited:

Charlie675

macrumors newbie
Apr 29, 2021
4
2
I’m trying to convince myself to get an AirTag to try out. I’m familiar with NFC triggers using far cheaper NFC tags. What’s an example of using an AirTag for this scenario?
I am going to set mine up on my keys with my car keys and have a shortcut to unlock by back door using my level bolt when I tap my phone to my tag rather that using Siri or the home app
 

DesignTime

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2021
199
526
Great, just what we needed. An automation to text and post on social media to your friends and family that you found your remote ?. “Call off the dogs! I found my remote. Now I can watch Netflix.”
 
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wesley96

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
347
270
I would’ve been surprised if this didn’t work. iPhone can use almost any NFC / RFID chip as an automation trigger as long as it can be recognizesd, even if it can’t be read by an NFC app on the phone. I have a bunch of leftover RFID cards that I use as a trigger for my HomeKit setup.
 

MvdM

Suspended
Apr 27, 2005
380
695
No you can't. The user who finds the tag would have to have the automation already set up in their shortcuts app for that to work.
You can share the shortcut to your own url, put the url in the AirTag (hardware hack needed) hope the user who finds the url has the option to run downloaded shortcuts. Include the download action of the sound in the shortcut.
 

alexandr

macrumors 68040
Nov 11, 2005
3,487
5,638
11201-121099
You can share the shortcut to your own url, put the url in the AirTag (hardware hack needed) hope the user who finds the url has the option to run downloaded shortcuts. Include the download action of the sound in the shortcut.
aha! i knew it! :))
 

name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
1,370
1,007
"As Shortcuts are completely user-configurable, and can be used to initiate an almost infinite number of actions,"

Clearly written by someone who's never actually tried to do anything serious with Shortcuts.

A more accurate version might be:
"As Shortcuts tend to fail to launch about half the time, and there's not much you can do with them even when they do work, this is not an especially useful new feature".
 
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TonyC28

macrumors 68020
Aug 15, 2009
2,372
6,200
USA
"As Shortcuts are completely user-configurable, and can be used to initiate an almost infinite number of actions,"

Clearly written by someone who's never actually tried to do anything serious with Shortcuts.

A more accurate version might be:
"As Shortcuts tend to fail to launch about half the time, and there's not much you can do with them even when they do work, this is not an especially useful new feature".
What issues are you having? I have a few shortcuts I use every day that work every time. But they are kinda basic so maybe that has something to do with it.
 

Altivec88

macrumors regular
Jun 16, 2016
213
811
I've been waiting for a device like this for forever, however, I am not sure if what I am looking for is still achievable. I want to be able to walk in a room and have the lights come on and then go off when I leave based on my phone/watch proximity to such device (ie. air tag)

Yes, I know about occupancy sensors but they are based on motion. So either you set ridiculously long times or you risk having the lights shut off when you are just sitting on the couch.
 

kk200

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2021
170
164
I've been waiting for a device like this for forever, however, I am not sure if what I am looking for is still achievable. I want to be able to walk in a room and have the lights come on and then go off when I leave based on my phone/watch proximity to such device (ie. air tag)

Yes, I know about occupancy sensors but they are based on motion. So either you set ridiculously long times or you risk having the lights shut off when you are just sitting on the couch.
Check the Aqara high-res human sensor. It works for homekit and supports identify people without moving.
 
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kk200

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2021
170
164
So AirTag can work as a NFC token for smart door lock?
If yes, it would be a perfect token, small, reliable, personal bound, never lost.
 

name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
1,370
1,007
What issues are you having? I have a few shortcuts I use every day that work every time. But they are kinda basic so maybe that has something to do with it.
(a) Launching: I'd say the shortcuts that are supposed to launch when I start/stop a workout do so maybe 30% of the time. To the point that I gave up; just a waste of time expecting that when I tap my watch to start a workout my fan would automatically come on, then switch off -- might as well just do it manually.

(b) To do almost ANYTHING requires that you confirm the shortcut with a tap. To the extent that you can actually AUTOMATE (as in make it happen in the background without thought) very little. If I have to think about "oh yes, pull out my phone to confirm" various "automatic" behaviors what's the automation?

(c) The programming "language" is pathetic, truly pathetic. Even basic arithmetic or comparisons are painful beyond belief. And you have to do it all on a tiny screen because god forbid you be able to edit a Shortcut on your iPad (let alone your Mac) then transfer it to your Phone. There's no logging. There's no debugging. There's a random (but long) delay between when a HomeKit Automation gets "saved" and when it's actually "active" on the HomeKit Hub, so enjoy trying to debug under those conditions.
etc etc
It's cargo cult programming -- superficially looks like the real thing, but has none of what actually makes the real thing work.
 

name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
1,370
1,007
So AirTag can work as a NFC token for smart door lock?
If yes, it would be a perfect token, small, reliable, personal bound, never lost.
You can buy MUCH cheaper NFC tags for that sort of task.

 

name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
1,370
1,007
I've been waiting for a device like this for forever, however, I am not sure if what I am looking for is still achievable. I want to be able to walk in a room and have the lights come on and then go off when I leave based on my phone/watch proximity to such device (ie. air tag)

Yes, I know about occupancy sensors but they are based on motion. So either you set ridiculously long times or you risk having the lights shut off when you are just sitting on the couch.

If you want an OCCUPANCY sensor, as opposed to a MOTION sensor, the most reliable solution I have found is Hiome.

I've been using them for over a year now, and while the first few months were a little rocky (occasionally missed my entering or leaving a room) I guess they (silently, I never had to do anything) updated the firmware because now they are very reliable.
They appear as HomeKit Occupancy sensors, and I use them for exactly what you want. Basically my home setup is
- some lights go on in the afternoon (based on a Hue light sensor)
- all lights come on an hour before sunset (but many of them to 30%)
- when I walk into a room the 30% goes to 100%
- when I leave a room a timer starts and, after 3 minutes, they revert to 30%

To get this fancy you also need Homebridge (to provide HomeKit timers and HomeKit state variables). But for the basic concept you want, the room OCCUPANCY [without having to wave your hands every fifteen minutes]) I've been very happy with Hiome.
 
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