At this point, we’re just tired of waiting for Apple to release its AirTags. Well, a team of researchers from TU Darmstadt University has taken things into their own hands and released an open-source project that can be used to build custom AirTags.
Apple has taken forever to release the AirTags. Its first existence was found way back in 2019 when an asset of AirTags leaked in iOS 13.2 code. Since then, a lot of information about them has leaked, to the point that third-party accessories have already leaked online. Now, a team at TU Darmstadt University has reverse-engineered the protocol used by Apple devices to participate in Find My Network, called OpenHayStack. The team has also released free resources for those who would like to create their own set of AirTags.
How it All Works
Before we begin explaining how you can build your own AirTags, you need to keep a few things in mind. You’ll need a Mac running macOS Big Sur and a Bluetooth board like BBC Micro: bit, that will emulate AirTags. Micro: bit is a small development board that consists of an SoC which integrates Bluetooth Low Energy. The project supports Micro: a bit out of the box.
Note: All the software, and the resources, are taken from seemoo-lab’s Github page. They have explained in great detail how each component works. Please note that iPhoneHacks has no affiliation with OpenHayStack. Please use the guide at your own risk.
How to Build Custom AirTags
The project requires you to install OpenHayStack. This software enables you to flash the required software to the Bluetooth board. It can be downloaded from here.
- Download and double-click on the file.
- Install OpenHayStack Mail plugin.
- Open Terminal and run: sudo spctl –master-disable
- Go to Apple Mail -> Preferences -> General -> Manage Plug-Ins and check OpenHaystackMail.mailbundle
- Click on Allow
- Open Terminal and run: sudo spctl –master-enable
Deploying Image to BCC Micro:Bit
- Connect your Bluetooth board to your Mac.
- Open the OpenHayStack application
- Click on ‘Generate Key and Deploy‘
- Enter a name for your Custom AirTag
- Select an icon for your custom AirTag