How to drill a keyring hole in an AirTag

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/05/03/how-to-drill-a-keyring-hole-in-an-airtag.html

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Why make your product usable when you can sell an accessory? Thanks, Apple!

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Don’t worry, they’ll figure out how to block this “hack” in the next version.

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Glad to see that my decision to stop supporting Apple’s user-hostile design was the right decision. What were they thinking?

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You’d probably want to make this water-resistant? Throw some glue in the hole and penetrate the hole with something the glue doesn’t adhere to, so you can remove the penetrator leaving the hole sealed.

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iFixit recommends a 1/16" drill.

This might be a bit more technical, but if you do NOT use a drill, but put a piece V-sharpened hard wire .040 or .060 into a drill and spin it REALLY fast (most drills can do this) and it will MELT a hole through the casing and probably retain at least SOME of the waterproofness. You may have to do some clean up of the hole to remove some of the melt, but…might be worth it.

OF course, you’ll STILL be tossing your warranty… :slight_smile:

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You could also drill a bigger hole spang through the middle of the thing, though you’d need to make a corresponding hole through a CR2032 battery, which would be harder, but therefore also more rewarding.

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Why make things easier when you can make money from selling licenses to accessory makers?

I’m sure Apple expects us to be thankful that the battery is a user-replaceable CR2032. I was half-expecting it to be some proprietary glued-in blob with the expectation that you replace the entire tag every 6 months.

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Is anyone else surprised that Apple released a piece of consumer electronics with enough free space inside it to be safely drilled in any of 3 distinct locations?

If there’s room inside and it’s not a tardis that means it could be made smaller on the outside; and not making it smaller when it could be made smaller is practically heretical.

The problem with drilling the hole, is that the locations specified all leave a very thin margin on the outside. I’m reasonably sure that plastic WILL fatigue and fail, relatively fast.

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Surely will be a thriving market in snap on cases at alibaba prices. Once again apple is partly insulated from a bad decision by its thriving ecosystem.

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Yes.

I’ve seen a bunch of reviews saying the design is “very Apple-like”, which suggests they’re hardcore tweakers, or maybe they’re just referring to how it looks like the G3 powerbook transformer puck thing. Anyway these tags are not what I’d expect from Apple’s current design language, and I do wonder what the story is with the oversized design.

Perhaps at one point it did have a lithium battery, and/or inductive charging? Or perhaps they were concerned that making it small and flat would make it too easy to hide places (for stalking)? Or maybe it is something to do with the speaker – I know these are designed to use the case itself as a driver, rather than having vents, and maybe the empty space inside is important to that?

At any rate, with that Steve Jobs aquarium story, there’s no way the Applefolk didn’t think about making it smaller.

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Yeah, I assumed there would be all sorts of accessories to make these things actually useful, and boy howdy, are there. Apple’s site has everything from a relatively affordable $13 plastic keyring holder, all the way up to a $449 Hermès leather fob. Fools and their money, I guess…

My guess is they made it just big enough to fit a CR2032 battery, and that was carefully chosen because it was the right balance between physical size and longevity.

I’m sure they would have rather gone with something much smaller like say a CR1632 those likely didn’t have a good enough mAh to meet their longevity targets.

If you look at the iFixit teardown it’s a pretty remarkable bit of engineering and miniaturization (as is typical for Apple).

Seems like they could have saved some room by not using such a fancy voice coil but the thing is still about the size of a quarter so it’s really small.