Australian retailer pulls AirTag over battery safety concerns

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 4
Australian retailer Officeworks has pulled AirTags from sale over potential safety issues, which revolve around the ease of access to the button cell batteries used in the tracking accessory.




Reddit posts surfaced on Monday claiming that the store was not offering the AirTags for sale, despite sales associates confirming they were sold on the Friday. An Officeworks representative then allegedly advised the AirTags were pulled from sale over safety concerns, relating to the accessibility of the button-cell battery.

The lack of availability wasn't limited to just the physical stores, as the retailer's website also removed listings for the Apple product.

Replacing the battery in AirTags
Replacing the battery in AirTags


In an email to Gizmodo, Officeworks confirmed the AirTag range will "temporarily be unavailable for purchase," and that it won't be stocked "until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission."

"Officeworks continues to work with Apple to address any safety concerns," the retailer added, but declined to state exactly what those concerns were.

It appears that Officeworks is the only major retailer to pull the product from sale so far, but with regulators getting involved, that may change.

"The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product, said a spokesperson to the report. The ACCC added it expects suppliers who become aware of safety issues to "conduct a voluntary recall to advise consumers of the risk, address the safety issue, or remove the product from the market."

Apple's response to the issue is that AirTag "is designed to meet international child safety standards, including those in Australia, by requiring a two-step push-and-turn mechanism to access the user-replaceable battery." Apple also claims to be following regulations closely, and "are working to ensure that our products will meet or exceed new standards, including those for package labeling, well ahead of the timeline required."

Button cell batteries are a current hot-button safety concern in Australia, with estimates by Product Safety Australia claiming that 20 children are taken to hospitals per week after swallowing the batteries. There are three known reports in the country of children dying after swallowing the batteries since 2013.

In November 2020, the ACCC launched a campaign educating the public on the dangers of children swallowing the batteries.

Australia also has recent rule changes for packaging, requiring warning symbols to be displayed for products containing button cell batteries, as well as the addition of specific information in included documentation. However, these rules aren't enforceable until June 21, 2022, meaning they do not necessarily apply to AirTags packaging at this time.


Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,012member
    Oh the irony! Apple criticized for not having user replaceable batteries. Apple now criticized for having user replaceable batteries that are too easy to replace. The company simply can’t do anything right according to the critics.

    Many of the products I own that have button batteries have snap off lids for replacement. Some have a small screw that needs to be removed to replace the battery. Can you imagine the cacophony of outrage if AirTags required a screw to be removed. Right off the bat there would be claims of greed because the AirTag didn’t come with a screwdriver included and that users shouldn’t have to buy something else just to remove the battery. This is life for the world’s biggest corporation.
    edited May 4 mike1dhawkins541flyingdpwilliamhcharlesatlasbluefire1llamajony0Detnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    uraharaurahara Posts: 525member
    Well, it’s not a toy.
    That’s it.

    How man kids have died because of self inflicted wounds by a kitchen knife? How many kids were taken to the hospital because they ate detergent? 
    Should those items be banned from sale?

    Keep away from kids of age x-yz.

    mike1flyingdpjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 25
    neilmneilm Posts: 874member
    According to iFixit’s recent teardown of the AirTag, the battery lid is quite difficult to remove. They state that even with clean, dry fingers it’s hard to get enough friction to turn and release it.
    rob53dhawkins541dysamoriamknelsonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    acejax805acejax805 Posts: 103member
    You can relate individual responsibility, accountability, and now intelligence based on how nanny a government is. Australia isn’t looking so good. 
    lkruppmike1uraharaflyingdpllama
  • Reply 5 of 25
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,690member
    lkrupp said:
    Oh the irony! Apple criticized for not having user replaceable batteries. Apple now criticized for having user replaceable batteries that are too easy to replace. The company simply can’t do anything right according to the critics.

    Many of the products I own that have button batteries have snap off lids for replacement. Some have a small screw that needs to be removed to replace the battery. Can you imagine the cacophony of outrage if AirTags required a screw to be removed. Right off the bat there would be claims of greed because the AirTag didn’t come with a screwdriver included and that users shouldn’t have to buy something else just to remove the battery. This is life for the world’s biggest corporation.
    Where are you seeing criticism?

    FTA:

    "temporarily be unavailable for purchase," and that it won't be stocked "until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission"

    The retailer is simply playing safe and waiting to make sure everything is cleared by the commission. 
    dewmedysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 25
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 649member
    According to the one I have in my hands, it's pretty easy.  Press, twist and go.  I see their point.  
    According to iFixit’s recent teardown of the AirTag, the battery lid is quite difficult to remove. They state that even with clean, dry fingers it’s hard to get enough friction to turn and release it.

    dysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 25
    Oh boring, another "think of the children" concern. Perhaps better parenting is the solution, or absent that, we should look to relabel condoms as child-safety mechanisms, everyone wins!
    mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 25
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    neilm said:
    According to iFixit’s recent teardown of the AirTag, the battery lid is quite difficult to remove. They state that even with clean, dry fingers it’s hard to get enough friction to turn and release it.
    And according to iFixit, the Tile and Samsung(?) trackers are very easy to open up. What about all those hearing aid button batteries lying around? Why is it always Apple that governments, especially Australia, going after? It's just the money and control.
    flyingdpjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,599member
    jpellino said:
    According to the one I have in my hands, it's pretty easy.  Press, twist and go.  I see their point.  
    According to iFixit’s recent teardown of the AirTag, the battery lid is quite difficult to remove. They state that even with clean, dry fingers it’s hard to get enough friction to turn and release it.


    Any child who can "press, twist and go" should probably know better than to eat a battery or be supervised by an adult who knows better. Ugh!
    dysamoriallamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 25
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,254member
    Not invented here mate!  The French will probably follow suit. Mon Dieu, La Pomme fait de l'argent encore une fois!
    Hopefully, it is nothing of the sort and just procedural red tape.
    edited May 4 llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,430member
    I'm surprised they have to time to review this given that they are busy policing the streets with machine guns looking for covid restriction violators.   



    flyingdpNoFliesOnMe
  • Reply 12 of 25
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 765member
    If they think AirTags have a battery safety issue, I expect they also find the batteries themselves are too dangerous to sell. 
    llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,208member
    lkrupp said:
    Oh the irony! Apple criticized for not having user replaceable batteries. Apple now criticized for having user replaceable batteries that are too easy to replace. The company simply can’t do anything right according to the critics.

    Many of the products I own that have button batteries have snap off lids for replacement. Some have a small screw that needs to be removed to replace the battery. Can you imagine the cacophony of outrage if AirTags required a screw to be removed. Right off the bat there would be claims of greed because the AirTag didn’t come with a screwdriver included and that users shouldn’t have to buy something else just to remove the battery. This is life for the world’s biggest corporation.
    You’re artificially building this up into a conspiracy-level personal/targeted attack against Apple, especially with comments about what might happen if scenarios were different. Chill out.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,208member

    acejax805 said:
    You can relate individual responsibility, accountability, and now intelligence based on how nanny a government is. Australia isn’t looking so good. 
    Is this some kind of libertarian rating system of governments you’re referencing here?
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,208member

    rob53 said:
    neilm said:
    According to iFixit’s recent teardown of the AirTag, the battery lid is quite difficult to remove. They state that even with clean, dry fingers it’s hard to get enough friction to turn and release it.
    And according to iFixit, the Tile and Samsung(?) trackers are very easy to open up. What about all those hearing aid button batteries lying around? Why is it always Apple that governments, especially Australia, going after? It's just the money and control.
    Have you looked for similar retail holds for other products using button batteries, or are you falling into some kind of selection bias by expecting those reports to come to you here on Apple Insider?
    llamaStrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,208member

    sdw2001 said:
    I'm surprised they have to time to review this given that they are busy policing the streets with machine guns looking for covid restriction violators.   



    Machine guns? Citation?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,208member

    williamh said:
    If they think AirTags have a battery safety issue, I expect they also find the batteries themselves are too dangerous to sell. 
    Unnecessary. Per the article and packing I’ve witnessed, there are safety cautions on the packages and they require great effort to open. More than I care to put into it myself, but I guess now I know why...

    This isn’t a targeted attack against Apple. Fanatics need to chill out. Precious isn’t being threatened.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 25
    WgkruegerWgkrueger Posts: 286member
    We need some human trials of the effects of child consumption of button batteries. Size, voltage, case construction vs stomach acid, etc.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    WgkruegerWgkrueger Posts: 286member
    sdw2001 said:
    I'm surprised they have to time to review this given that they are busy policing the streets with machine guns looking for covid restriction violators.   



    https://twitter.com/raf_luton/status/1387005180709900295?s=21
  • Reply 20 of 25
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 712member
    Wgkrueger said:
    sdw2001 said:
    I'm surprised they have to time to review this given that they are busy policing the streets with machine guns looking for covid restriction violators.   



    https://twitter.com/raf_luton/status/1387005180709900295?s=21
    Not Australia, and: "The assumed Official Twitter account of the world's most mysterious & secret (and fictitious) military base. (Parody Account)"

     :D 
    edited May 4 watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.