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While parents are interested in ways to protect their kids from swallowing batteries, Apple has been quick to warn that some methods, like bitter coatings on the battery, may impede compatibility with AirTags.
AirTags ship with a battery of their own, a coin-shaped CR2032 battery that’s predicted to last around a year or so before dying (depending on AirTag use). Sooner or later, you’ll be getting a warning on your iPhone that the original battery needs to be replaced, and here’s where things get tricky.
Plenty of brands make CR2032 batteries, as they are a popular lithium battery solution for all kinds of small devices. However, the batteries are also small enough for babies and toddlers to swallow, and if you have kids that are currently putting everything in their mouths, you really don’t want them to encounter one of these spare batteries – they have toxic components and can cause dangerous internal chemical reactions, rush-to-the-ER kinds of problems.
One solution that brands like Duracell have adopted is to sell the batteries with a nontoxic coating on them that’s made to taste very bitter. The goal is to encourage small kids to immediately spit the battery out if they try tasting it. However, watchful Apple fans have noted a problem with this approach.
According to Apple’s official instructions for replacing an AirTag battery, owners should stay away from bitter coatings, as they “Might not work with AirTag or other battery-powered products, depending on the alignment of the coating in relation to the battery contacts.”
So while a bitter coating is nice in theory for a kid’s protection, it introduces a new problem that makes the batteries incompatible with AirTags, something users need to keep in mind when the time comes to buy a replacement battery.
Bottom line: If you are ordering spare batteries around for your AirTag, make sure they aren’t versions with bitter, kid-friendly coatings on them.
If you do purchase compatible CR2032 batteries, keep them in their packaging and far out of the reach of kids to avoid any potential problems.
While we know that equipping a child’s backpack or clothes with an AirTag for easy tracking is a possibility, it’s a good idea to wait until they’re older. The AirTag’s battery is relatively easy to twist and pry out with small fingers and isn’t a good accessory for toddlers (or, we should mention, very hungry doggos).