Apple appears to have removed an important AirTag feature on purpose, and it is now confirmed to be absent from iOS 15.6 and the iOS 16 beta. You can no longer track the battery levels of your AirTags in the Find My app, and the feature appears to have been removed entirely. The removal of the feature from the Find My app in both of these iOS versions suggests that this is it — Apple may have pulled the plug and decided not to bring it back.
If you’ve never owned an Apple AirTag before, let us first explain what they do. AirTags are small, circular devices that can be attached to a variety of items, such as a keychain or a backpack, as we discussed in our original AirTag Review. Once attached to something and properly configured, an AirTag will assist you in tracking the location of important items using the Apple Find My app. If you misplace your wallet, you can make your AirTag play a sound or use Precision Finding on your iPhone to find it.
Although AirTags are not particularly power-hungry, their battery capacity is limited; after a while, you will need to replace it. The AirTag itself lacks a user interface, but connecting it to your Apple devices previously provided an indication of its battery level. Unfortunately, MacRumors and iCulture.nl report that this is no longer the case.
Apple may have had reasons to get rid of the feature
Previously, Apple’s AirTags had a small battery indicator. Although it was not on the device, it could still be useful. It was found in the Apple Find My app, where each AirTag had a small battery icon similar to that of a smartphone or tablet. It didn’t give users much insight because it didn’t provide actual percentage values, but it did provide a visual of your battery life, which turned red when it was time to replace it. As a reminder, Apple also sent out notifications at that time.
Beginning with the most recent version of iOS, iOS 15.6, there is no battery icon at all. Instead, Apple notifies you when the battery reaches a critical level and must be replaced. As previously stated, this change appears to be intentional — Apple also removed the icon from the Find My interfaces in macOS Monterey 12.5 and watchOS 8.7. To top it all off, it changed the contents of an AirTag support document, now referencing only a pop-up warning that will appear when your AirTag battery is low, and the possibility of a brief appearance of a red battery indicator in the Find My app just before it’s dead.
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Apple hasn’t officially commented on the matter, but it’s possible that the company decided to remove battery life tracking from the AirTags because it was frequently inaccurate, with some users receiving requests to replace the battery after only using the device once. As a result, we may have to get used to the new battery guessing game that Apple appears to be moving toward.