So you have your shiny new Steam Deck. Wouldn’t it be nice to protect it and be able to find it if it were lost or stolen? Well, with an Apple AirTag, and the willingness to crack open your shiny new toy, you can! It would be simple enough to attach the AirTag to the case, or even on the Deck itself, but then if it is stolen, it would be obvious to the thief who would just toss it. So, let’s put one inside the Deck where it will not be obvious, or easy to remove quickly.
Opening the Deck is actually quite easy, and to put in the AirTag, you only need to remove the back cover. Nothing else has to be disconnected or changed. You can use the iFixit site to see the steps to take it apart. They have a page for just removing the cover. Do so.
I highly recommend their tool kits (I have not received any compensation; I just like their site and tools), and would emphasize that you do not use a metal screwdriver to open it; it will damage the plastic and make it look ugly.
Once you have the Deck open, there is a space on the right (labeled R) where an AirTag will fit. You set it plastic side down (we don’t want the metal bits shorting out other metal bits, do we kids?) between the two button switches, as far to the edge of the case as you can go. If you just set it there, it will actually be a little loose and will rattle inside once you close it up. If you cut a couple of thin pieces of (non-conductive/static) foam, and place them on either side (top and bottom; where I marked in red in this image stolen from the iFixit site) of the AirTag, it will keep it from sliding around and rattling. You do not need much, and you do not want any directly between the AirTag and the board as it will make it too thick, and cause the buttons to have too much resistance. But a little on each side does the job.
Do keep in mind that it is possible that this could dislodge components on the board underneath, so perform this modification at your own risk. I have had my AirTag in there for several weeks now, and have had no issues with connectivity, thermals, or any other issues.
2 thoughts on “Protecting Your Steam Deck With An AirTag”
I recently tried fitting an Airtag in there aswell but I couldn’t get it closed without it pressing on the pcbs. Do you have the Airtag at an angle or something?
I already thought about disasambling the Airtag and putting it in a 3D-printed insert, so i can place the battery beneath the pcb of the Airtag and have it fit. But I would like to try it without that hassle again.
I didn’t have to modify anything. It was a little tricky getting it to work, but after playing with it a little, and finding just a tiny amount of foam on either end to hold it in place, but NOT make it any thicker, I was able to close it and have it not make the buttons end up stiff. It did take a few tries, though. I did not have to modify the air tag or the Deck.