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Tech Savvy: Combining a smart wallet with an AirTag creates sense of security

I know the AirTags have been out for awhile so the tech isn’t a new gadget. But this week, I was able to actually try it out myself.

A hand holds a smart wallet that has a pocket for an Apple AirTag
The compact front pocket wallet has strong magnets to keep the trifold shut. Even with its small size, at 4 inches by 2.5 inches, the Elzama Smart AirTag Wallet has lots of room and a pouch for an Apple AirTag so the wallet can be found if misplaced or lost.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch
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For years, I thought of getting Apple AirTags to keep track of my wallet and my keys but never made the purchase.

Sometimes you think about tech for a long time before you actually spend money on it. And this time, the technology came as my mom’s last gift to me. She liked to give me new wallets, the kind that are supposed to keep your credit cards safe from scanning. But I often ended up dropping them and the tiny plastic clasps to keep them shut were the first thing to go. Everytime. So I’ve had rubber bands around my wallets for years. It works.

This year, in advance for my birthday, my mom got me an Elzama wallet where the cards are stored inside and a small but robust lever brings them up out of the wallet when you want to use them. The tight fit means the cards are securely inside with more options to keep an ID and other cards tucked away inside the trifold. The compact front pocket wallet has strong magnets to keep the trifold shut. Even with its small size, at 4 inches by 2.5 inches, the Elzama Smart AirTag Wallet has lots of room. And, more importantly in terms of technology, it has a pouch for an Apple AirTag. The company reports the wallet can store up to eight cards, ID and cash without the bulk of a normal folding wallet. The wallet costs about $25 and there are multiple variations, including those with a money clip. It comes in carbon leather, faux leather, genuine leather, and aluminum.

“This wallet is made of high quality Carbon Fiber Leather, high-grade Aluminum Alloy Box, equipped with powerful magnets, so you could open and close the airtag wallet more easily and conveniently,” the company reports. “Our card holder is also equipped with advance RFID technology to keep your cards safe from card reading devices.”

A hand holds a smart wallet that includes a pouch for an Apple AirTag.
For those who never put their keys anywhere but in a bowl on the table in their entrance or who always keep their wallet in the same place, the AirTags may seem like an added gadget without much to gain. For others, it can be a way to quickly and easily locate an item that can easily be misplaced.<br/>
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The Apple AirTags, at typicaly $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 option of trying four months of Apple Music for free with Target Circle.

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The Elzama wallet also came with a key fob for an Apple AirTag as well. Some people use the Apple AirTags with laptop cases, keys, luggage, backpacks, or even wristbands to keep track of kids in a crowd.

I know the AirTags have been out for awhile so the tech isn’t a new gadget. But this week, I was able to actually try it out myself. After the wallet was hidden in the newsroom, it took a couple of minutes to find it using my iPhone. Using the Find My app, the phone quickly pointed me in the right direction. If I walked the wrong way, it urged me to walk in a different direction and then used an arrow to point me the right way. When I got within 30 feet, the screen turned from black to green with a countdown of the distance. If I was in doubt, I could hit a button on the phone to get the AirTag to chirp and help me narrow down its hiding place. You can even just ask Siri to find your wallet. Apple notes its Precision Finding is compatible with iPhone 11 through iPhone 13. If the wallet was left at a roadside rest, a network can help track it down.

“Just like your other Apple devices, AirTag can be put into Lost Mode,” Apple reports. “Then, when it’s detected by a device in the network, you’ll automatically get a notification. You can also set it so someone can get your contact info by tapping your AirTag with an NFC-capable smartphone — that’s the same technology that lets people pay for things with their phones.”

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Apple reports privacy is built in.

“Only you can see where your AirTag is. Your location data and history are never stored on the AirTag itself. Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also stay anonymous, and that location data is encrypted every step of the way. So not even Apple knows 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 little disc sending out a “secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network. These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud — then you can go to the Find My app and see it on a map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy. And itʼs efficient, so thereʼs no need to worry about battery life or data usage.”

Now, as I’m in the process of moving, chaos is an ever present experience with boxes and bins. Nothing is in its normal place. The AirTag brings with it a sense of calm with a way to quickly find where the wallet went this time.

An overhead view of the smart wallet trifold.
The company reports the Elzama Smart AirTag Wallet can store up to eight cards, ID and cash without the bulk of a normal folding wallet.<br/>
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

For those who never put their keys anywhere but in a bowl on the table in their entrance or who always keep their wallet in the same place, the AirTags may seem like an added gadget without much to gain. 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 tucked them out of sight behind other items with nary a word. Having an AirTag then would have saved more than an hour of searching and gnashing of teeth. And there is invariably the tiny level of panic that sets in when you don’t find your wallet where you last remember putting it.

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With the repetition of work, it can be easy for days to run together. That can increase the uncertainty of where the wallet was last seen — on the table when you were paying bills? Left in the car? Still at work? Or actually missing or left in a store cart? With an AirTag, a quick check of the iPhone will determine where the wallet is on a map just as 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 place the item is hiding, whether that is in plain sight, in the couch crevasse or fallen behind something. A moment’s hunt and you are back on your way. That is worth something.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz .

Related Topics: TECH-SAVVYTECHNOLOGY
Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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