Apple recently released the AirTag tracker which has a unit price of 229 yuan ($35). This device supports UWB ultra-wideband radio technology and can emit sound. Yesterday, we wrote an article on the disassembly of the AirTag by iFixit. Amongst other things, the disassembly shows that it is pretty easy to remove the metal backplate of the AirTag. A simple press and twist will reveal the battery of the device.
Apple’s AirTag is now facing child safety issues just a week after it hit the market. The major issue is in terms of its replaceable batteries. The AirTag has a standard replaceable CR2032 button battery, and Apple claims that it can provide a full year of battery life support. However, the relative ease with which users can remove the button battery is a problem for users.
This simple battery replacement process has aroused people’s concern that children can easily access the battery and may pose a safety risk to themselves. According to reports, this concern is enough for Australia’s major retailer, Officeworks, to temporarily remove the AirTag from its shelves.
AirTag may not be violating any laws
Reddit users claim that an Officeworks representative confirmed that it is because of child safety. The representative specifically claims that the button battery safety is a major concern for them.
In addition, Apple confirmed in a statement to Gizmodo that AirTag’s battery replacement process was the core reason for the retail chain’s decision to temporarily remove AirTag.
“AirTag is designed to comply with international child safety standards, including Australian standards, and it requires a two-step forwarding mechanism to access user-replaceable batteries,” an Apple representative said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“We are paying close attention to these regulations and working hard to ensure that our products will meet or exceed the new standards, including packaging and labeling standards, well before the required time.”
Officeworks stated that AirTag will not hit its shelf until the “Australian Competition and Consumer Commission provides further guidance,”. This happens to be the agency currently investigating Apple’s allegations of anti-competitive market conduct.
Australian regulations require that any consumer product with a battery compartment accessible to consumers, regardless of whether it intends to replace the battery, must “design to ensure that the battery compartment cannot be opened by young children”. The regulations also state that the battery compartment must have “screws or similar fasteners for fixing the door”.
According to regulations, Apple AirTag did not provide consumers with any visible screws. However, to enter the battery compartment, the user must first press and twist the back panel. Therefore, although there are clear concerns, AirTag is unlikely to violate any direct regulatory provisions.