AirTags firmware update - Can it be forced?

I was an early “investor” in AirTags. And if I gave myself just the minimum EU/danish wages the cost of 6 AirTags was quickly in the bag saving time spent looking for my keys :laughing:
But extending the my “AirTag environment” to my bicycles and my car has left me with an annoying issue regarding AirTag firmware updates:
How to force update the AirTag firmware.
As I understand the policies the firmware will be updated when the AirTag in within reach of ones iPhone.
But since my bicycle AirTags are placed in concealed holders and the one in my car is
well hidden it is a bit of a nuisance because the time they are in close encounter with my iPhone does not seem to leave time for any automated updates during daily use.
Is there any way one can force update the firmware?
If not, I gather there would be ground for an improvement request to Apple.

1 Like

I can’t see how that would be at all possible. AirTags don’t have any way to connect over long distances required to reach Apple servers. They rely on other passing iDevices to provide FindMy information, but most aren’t close for long enough to get an update and I don’t think you want other iPhones to be providing updates in any case.

It certainly isn’t something that I would waste my time doing as it would take a totally different architecture to be able to provide such and battery life would probably drop to a day or less.

The mechanism for doing this is much older than AirTags are. The same method has been used for AirPods since they were introduced.

Thank You for your input.

I’m aware that AirTag cannot connect long distance. And I also certainly ould not want any 3’rd party iDevice to initiate any updates.

I just had the a with that it would be possible - when ones own iPhone was in (very) close distance of the AirTag to “force update” the firmware through the “Find” App.
Similar to initiating updating the HomePod (Mini) via the Home App.

So I guess this is still I thing Apple could do better (Appreciating they would have a table of priorities I won’t hold my breath for this to happen :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:).

Anyway, here is my findings:

Somewhere during a 4 hours car drive the hidden AirTag in my car updated.
Since I had my iPhone in the car all the time it would also be appropriately close to the AirTag to update.
I cannot pinpoint the exact time except it was more the 2,5 hours when I checked during a coffee break and less thar the full 4 hours driving time when I reached my end destination.

As for the AirTags on my bicycles…
1 hour of service time (spring cleaning and general maintenance) with my iPhone in close to the bikes was not enough to trigger an update.
I finally removed to AitTags from the bikes a left them in close distance of my iPhone over night.
Next morning one had updated. The other one not.
Then I - although no low battery notice having been received - I removed the battery and put back the same battery. And watch and behold: Within 30 minutes the AirTag firmware was updated.

Since this was the last of my AirTags missing the latest update I cannot replicate nor confirm the behavior - yet.

Willy Sejr

1 Like

I think my AirPods Pro (2nd gen) got the update because they’ve been misbehaving for the last week since the update came out.

Previously I had such terrible battery life for the case (drains from 100% in 2 days with just a few hours of earbud use) that I’d disabled Find My on the case which greatly helped with battery life. I’d also been frequently annoyed with false “you left your AirPods behind” messages when they were still with me (And in active use!) and that fix solved that problem, too.

But now I’m getting “an unknown airpods is traveling with you” message (as though I’m being stalked). They are my AirPods, but since I disabled Find My, it apparently can’t tell that. Worse, I don’t just get one “unknown” message, but 4-5 in succession, every few minutes. It’s maddening.

I turned Find My back one which stopped the “unknown” messages, but then I’m back to getting fake “you left your AirPods behind” messages every time I take the dog for a walk. And those are frequent, too – like 4-5 during a 30-minute walk.

There seems to be no way to permanently disable either of these messages. I apparently have to choose which is the least annoying. Right now I have Find My turned off as I assume it still uses more battery, but the “unknown” messages are alarming and annoying.

Anyone else seeing this or have any ideas for solutions? I haven’t contact Apple support yet. I suppose I should do that.

The gen 2 AirPods Pro, other than sounding better, are one of the most problematic products from Apple I’ve ever seen. (My old ones sat on a table for 3 months unused and still had 90% battery left. The new ones drain in 2 days even if I don’t use them. Turning off Find My extends that to a week, even with minimal use, which is still pathetic and far worse than the gen 1 model which I charged once a month.)

If you open a device in Find My, you can set whether you are notified when that device is left behind and also set ‘safe’ locations for the device.

How does one learn the current firmware version? On my iPhone (iOS 15.7.1, yes, I’m behind the times), I can see no place to look for the firmware version, so I wouldn’t know what it is or how to tell if it had updated. Thanks.

Find My, tap Items, tap one of the AirTag items. It shows on the map, with a banner/card at the bottom with buttons to play sound, find, etc. Just above the buttons are what you named the AirTag, plus its last known location, etc. Tap the name and it will show the serial number and firmware version just below.

1 Like

It’s just as you said, and I bet I could have figured it out for myself in three lifetimes. It seems like there should be an ellipsis by the AirTag name to get the serial number and firmware version.

Thank you very much.

Yes, that turns off notifications, but doesn’t lengthen battery life. For some reason (Bug? Bad design?) when Apple added Find My finding on the gen2 Pros it utterly ruined standby battery life, so they’re only useable when it’s turned completely off.

With the “unknown airpods traveling with you” message, you can only disable the warning for a period of time, not permanently, and there’s no way to specify a “safe” location (like home).

You’re welcome. I hadn’t checked here before I posted, but I figured the instructions to find the firmware version may be on Apple’s support site. They are: What’s new in firmware updates for AirTag - Apple Support

One trick I have for questions related to Apple products, OSes and software, is to add the following to an internet search, to restrict the search just to Apple’s support site:

Thanks. I knew that, but had forgotten. (For the rest of my life, make that eternity, I will have forgotten more than I know.)