Hardware iPhone

How do I prevent my Apple AirTag from getting scratched?

Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash

The newly released Apple AirTags are excellent device trackers – with 2 big downsides…

  1. They don’t come with any way of being secured (e.g. a hole for a keyfob) so an accessory is generally required
  2. They scratch easily, with a shiny aluminium surface on one side and an equally shiny, white plastic one on the other

For that second one, I can help.

You need a screen protector

No, really!

When my AirTag turned up, I assumed the leather keyring that I also purchased would protect at least one side. Unfortunately, I was wrong – both sides were exposed to the elements, in particular, the sharp surfaces of my house key. I needed a way to prevent the AirTag from getting scratched – surely someone is selling a protector of some kind?

Turn to Amazon or eBay and you’ll find that plenty of people are. However, for reasons unknown they’re being touted as “screen protectors”, despite the AirTag having exactly zero screens on it. Not only that but, on Amazon, the quickest I could get delivery was in a month’s time. It looks as if the manufacturers of these have been caught “on the hop”, unlike the many ready with key-rings and other third-party accessories.

eBay turned out to be my hero and I found someone selling them in the UK – one week later and I had them.

Do they work?

At £5.99, it’s pricey for what it is – 5 small plastic spheres that, like screen protectors, need carefully adhering to your device. Indeed, I managed to get through 4 of them to protect the 2 sides of my AirTag… don’t ask.

These are not particularly high quality, but they seem to work – and not a moment too soon. Since adding my AirTag onto my keychain, I’ve used my keys exactly once, and already managed to scratch the AirTag. They really are that easy to damage.

In the small cardboard pack you get 5 film protectors and a number of wet and dry wipes, to ensure your Tag is free of detritus before adding the protector.

Once on, they’re pretty much invisible. However, they’re not the full width of the aluminium part of the AirTag. Depending on what accessory you’re pairing it with, the edge of the protector may be visible.

Here’s how mine looks – note the horizontal scratch on the right-hand side…

prevent the AirTag from getting scratched

Are they worth buying?

On paper, paying an extra 5% just for a bit of sticky film seems, shall we say, rather exorbitant. But if you’ve splashed an equal amount (if not more) on a bit of leather to wrap around the AirTag, I’m guessing that looks are important to you. A banged-up, badly scratched AirTag is hardly going to make you the envy of your friends. At the same time, this isn’t a fancy tempered glass solution, just simple film. How much damage it puts up with is yet to be seen.

Certainly, if you’re buying one I’d recommend getting something to prevent your Apple AirTag from getting scratched. There are some key fobs that cover the whole AirTag, so if you’re happy to hide it away then that may be a more simple solution. Otherwise, I’d consider a, ahem, screen protector.

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About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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