Wednesday, December 1

a “developer mode” hidden in the Precision Finding interface


A user frustrated at not seeing an arrow showing the direction of their AirTag discovered a hidden developer mode in the Find My app. There are technical considerations and the precise coordinates of the device.

An Apple AirTag tag

An Apple AirTag // Gamesdone: FRANDROID / Anthony WONNER

It’s a well-known computer joke: when a device doesn’t work, sometimes, if you gently tap it, it can start working again. That’s pretty much what happened to a user of Apple’s new AirTags.

Frustrated that there isn’t an arrow indicating where his wallet is, he tells on Reddit that he tapped his name five times. And there, miraculously, a hidden developer mode appeared before his eyes, containing an arrow in the direction of his wallet. A video in support is even included in the post.

The developer mode interface.

The developer mode interface. // Gamesdone: Youtube: Alex Magri-Olson

The user in question, Cyem, was using the Precision Finding option of the Locate application (Find My in English), which should help find the object attached to an AirTag, as long as it is within 10 meters of you. For owners of iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 equipped with a U1 chip, the possibilities of the application are increased tenfold since it is possible to use the Ultra Wideband of the device, associated with the camera, the ‘ARkit, its accelerometer and its gyroscope.

Rulers to be taken with a grain of salt

The developer mode interface is very bushy and we suspect that it was not supposed to be accessible to the public, even if they can access it easily, as we have seen. It shows a diagnosis and technical considerations, such as the coordinates of the accelerometer or the gyroscope, or the screen resolution.

You can also choose the number of points present in the animation of the application. Most users will not have much use for this information, and they probably should not touch the sliders visible on the screen, unless they know exactly what they are used for.

AirTags are available for 35 euros per unit, and at 119 euros for a pack of 4 beacons on Apple website.

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