For years I thought about getting Apple AirTags to keep track of my wallet and keys, but never made the purchase.
Sometimes you think about technology for a long time before you spend money on it. And this time technology came as the last gift my mother gave me. She liked to give me new wallets, the ones that are supposed to protect your credit cards from being swiped. But I often ended up dropping them and the tiny plastic clasps to keep them closed were the first thing to do. Everytime. So I had rubber bands around my wallets for years. That works.
This year, ahead of my birthday, my mom gave me an Elzama wallet where the cards are stored inside and a small but sturdy lever pops them out of the wallet when you want to use them. The snug fit means the cards fit snugly inside with more options for keeping ID and other cards hidden inside the trifold. The compact front pocket wallet has strong magnets to keep the triple flap closed. Even with its small size, at 4 inches by 2.5 inches, the Elzama Smart AirTag Wallet has plenty of space. And, more importantly in terms of technology, it has a pocket for an Apple AirTag. The company reports that the wallet can store up to eight cards, IDs and cash without the bulk of a normal folding wallet. The wallet costs around $25 and there are several variations, including ones with a money clip. It is available in carbon leather, faux leather, genuine leather and aluminum.
“This wallet is made of high quality carbon fiber leather, high quality aluminum alloy case, equipped with strong magnets, so that you can open and close the Airtag wallet more easily and conveniently” , reports the company. “Our card holder is also equipped with advanced RFID technology to protect your cards from card reading devices.”
Apple AirTags, typically $29, are sold separately. Recently, Best Buy is offering the AirTag with six free months of Apple Music, six free months of Apple News+, and three free months of Apple TV+ with its original series and movies. Target has the AirTag with the ability to try Apple Music free for four months with Target Circle.
The Elzama wallet also comes with a key fob for an Apple AirTag. Some people use Apple AirTags with laptop cases, keys, luggage, backpacks, or even wristbands to track kids in crowds.
I know AirTags have been out for a while, so the technology is not a new gimmick. But this week, I got to try it myself. Once the wallet was hidden in the newsroom, it took me a few minutes to find it using my iPhone. Using the Find My app, the phone quickly pointed me in the right direction. If I was walking the wrong way, he would prompt me to walk in a different direction, then use an arrow to show me the right path. When I got within 30 feet, the screen went from black to green with a distance countdown. If in doubt, I could press a button on the phone to make the AirTag beep and help me narrow down its hiding place. You can even just ask Siri to find your wallet. Apple notes that its Precision Find is compatible with iPhone 11 through iPhone 13. If the wallet has been left by the wayside, a network can help find it.
“Just like your other Apple devices, AirTag can be put into Lost Mode,” Apple reports. “Then, when detected by a device on the network, you automatically receive a notification. You can also set it up so someone can get your details by tapping your AirTag with an NFC-enabled smartphone – it’s the same technology that lets people pay with their phone.
Apple reports that privacy is built in.
“Only you can see where your AirTag is. Your location data and history is never stored on the AirTag itself. Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also remain anonymous and that location data is encrypted. every step of the way, so even Apple doesn’t know the location of your AirTag or the identity of the device that helps find it.
Apple describes the process of using the AirTag as the small disc sending out a “secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices on the Find My network.” These devices send your AirTag’s location to iCloud – you can then go to the Find My app and see it on a map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy. And it’s efficient, so there’s no need to worry about battery life or data usage.
Now that I’m moving, chaos is a pervasive experience with boxes and bins. Nothing is in its normal place. The AirTag brings a sense of calm with a way to quickly find where the wallet went this time.
For those who never put their keys anywhere other than in a bowl on the table in their entryway or always keep their wallet in one place, AirTags may seem like an uninspiring extra gadget. For others, it can be a way to quickly and easily locate an item that can easily be misplaced. I was once at a party where a guest decided my keys were in the way and they hid them behind other items without a word. Having an AirTag would then have saved over an hour of searching and gnashing of teeth. And there’s invariably the little level of panic that sets in when you can’t find your wallet where you remember last putting it.
With the repetition of work, it can be easy to spend days together. This can increase uncertainty as to where the wallet was last seen – on the table when paying bills? Left in the car? Still at work? Or actually missing or left in a shopping cart? With an AirTag, a quick check of the iPhone will determine where the wallet is on a map, just like it can show the location of a family member’s iPhone, or your AirPods or iPad. Then the Find My app can narrow it down to the very spot where the item is hiding, whether it’s in plain sight, in the crevice of the couch, or dropped behind something. A moment of hunting and you resume your journey. It’s worth something.
Renee Richardson, Managing Editor, can be reached at 218-855-5852 or
. Follow on Twitter at