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Could Not Complete Airtag Setup? 10 Causes and Fixes

Could Not Complete Airtag Setup? 10 Causes and Fixes

Apple has been working on expanding its location-based tracking services. And the latest device to be added to the collection is the Apple Airtag. Using a Bluetooth connection to your phone, the Airtag helps you find lost and essential items with the use of tracking data. However, the device comes with its fair share of issues, particularly when setting it up.

Typically, people facing this issue and not being able to connect to their phones may find that common problems cause it. For example, you could be dealing with a conflict in the system, connectivity problems, and contradiction within the accounts. 

The good news is that there are fixes for all of these problems. Typically, you won’t know what went wrong when encountering the ‘Could Not Complete Setup’ error. So, we’ve gone through the trouble and explained all the potential issues and how you can fix them. Use this as a troubleshooting guide to identify what the core issue is. 

What Causes An Airtag Setup To Fail

There are numerous reasons why your attempt to set up an airtag might fail. In order to understand how to fix them, let’s go through each one, one by one. 

Check Your ID Type

Airtags work with all Apple IDs, with one exception. If you are using an Apple ID known as managed, you will not be able to connect an Airtag. Managed IDs are often used in the context of companies, institutions, and academic spaces. However, the Airtag will connect if your phone uses a personal ID. An option to fix it is to create another ID and switch over when you want to use the Airtag. 

Switch on the Airtag

When you get a new Airtag, it’s not switched on. This choice to switch it off ensures that they don’t register to iPhones they meet along the delivery journey. So, when you get a new Airtag from Apple, always make sure to switch it on.

Pull out the tab on the Airtag once you take it out from its packaging. This step will enable it to be switched on and can now connect to your iPhone. Once you bring it close, your phone will automatically detect an Airtag is nearby and will pop out a notification to get the setup process started. 

Clean The Airtag

Photo: Apple, Inc

One thing that can interfere with your Airtag working effectively is that it is not clean. The Airtag is not easily damaged, but it’s possible for dirt, dust, and debris to collect in it over time and for it to be non-functional. If cleaning does not resolve the issue, move on to the next step. 

Keep The Airtag Battery Healthy

Issues with the battery can affect the Airtag’s ability to connect with your iPhone. To avoid problems, you should always keep an eye on its battery life. Since Apple now makes it easier to replace batteries, you can try that option for a better experience. 

Related: 9 Best Uses For An Airtag

Connect Your iPhone

One of the reasons you may have trouble connecting your iPhone with an Airtag might be because of connectivity issues. Since you need your Bluetooth and Location switched on, the connection can become unstable if there is trouble with either. 

If this works, that means the issue is indeed that of connectivity. To fix this, all you need to do is to switch these features off, then try again. To do this, you will have to:

  1. Open up the Settings App on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and find the ‘Privacy’ button, and click it. 
  3. Select the option ‘Location Services.
  4. Toggle the option to Off.
  5. Next, put your iPhone on Airplane Mode. 
  6. Switch off your iPhone, and then restart it.
  7. Switch on Bluetooth and Location Services again.

Now that you’ve restarted the connections, your Airtag should start working. However, if you are still facing issues, move on to the next step.

Use The Find My App

When you get a new Airtag, your phone automatically recognizes it once you take off the tab on the device. If you find that this is not happening, this may also be because your phone cannot detect the Airtag properly. In that case, there is an option to set it up through the ‘Find My’ App. To do this, you will need to follow these steps:

Photo: Apple Inc
  1. Open the Settings App on your phone.
  2. Click on your account name to open up your profile. 
  3. Click on the ‘Find My’ button.
  4. Make sure that ‘Find My iPhone’ is switched on.
  5. Next, open the ‘Find My’ App. 
  6. Switch over to the Items tab.
  7. Select ‘Add Item.’
  8. In the popup, select ‘Add Airtag.’
  9. Your iPhone will now start searching for an Airtag nearby.
  10. When your phone identifies the Airtag, select ‘Connect.’

Switch On Two-Factor Authentication

One of the reasons Airtags may not connect is if you don’t have Two-factor authentication enabled. This requirement exists because Apple prioritizes security and incentivizes people to focus on strengthening their safety.

To set up two-factor authentication, in your Settings App, go to your profile and tap on ‘Passwords & Security. Finally, select ‘Two-Factor Authentication’ to switch it on and set it up. 

Check For Software Updates

If you have not been updating your iPhone regularly, it is possible it is unable to recognize the Airtag effectively. With every new update to the iPhone operating system, features become available, and Apple fixes any existing bugs. If you keep your phone charged and connected to the Internet, it updates on its own, but there is a manual process:

  1. Open up the Settings App.
  2. Tap on General, and then Software Update.
  3. The system will look for new updates.
  4. If an update is available, select ‘Download and Install.’

Check With Another Device

It may be possible there is a fault with your iPhone. If you happen to have another iPhone or a device the Airtag can connect to, try that. If the Airtag connects to another phone but not yours, you will have your answer.

Reset the Airtag

If none of the steps above are helping you set up an Airtag, you might want to try resetting the Airtag. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Press on the back of your Airtag and rotate the cover counter-clockwise.
  2. Once you can remove the cover, take out the battery.
  3. When placing the battery in again, you will hear a sound.
  4. Repeat this four more times, so you hear five sounds in all.
  5. The fifth sound is different and indicates the Airtag is reset.
  6. Cover up your Airtag again. 

After this, the Airtag should be able to connect as described before – with a popup notification that leads to setup.


If you have trouble setting up an Airtag, this troubleshooting guide can help. If nothing else works, however, it may be time to contact Apple Support so they can assist you through this process.