Last Updated on June 10, 2021 by Calvin C.
Apple AirTags are useful devices but when they are in the wrong hands they can be abused. In this article, I look at how you can avoid being tracked using Apple AirTags.
What are Apple AirTag?
Apple AirTag is a tracking device from Apple that was released in April 2021 to help you keep track of your stuff.
You use it to track personal belongings like:
- Electronic devices
- And more
The device has a built-in speaker that is activated when you are searching for the lost item.
This is done via the Find My app on your mobile device or by asking Siri to activate the AirTag for you.
That way, when you misplace something it doesn’t have to be a stressful event if there is an AirTag attached.
In addition, some iPhones have a precision-finding feature that gives you the approximate distance and direction of the AirTag, making it even easier to find.
This feature is available in:
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
One cool feature is that even nearby iPhones can assist in tracking your device without compromising your privacy!
How it works
If your AirTag is lost, it sends out a secure Bluetooth signal to nearby devices and the location is sent to iCloud.
From iCloud, the Find My app is able to show you the location on a map.
All this happens anonymously so other people cannot see the location except the owner of the AirTag.
What can go wrong?
Tracking of lost devices is a good idea and saves the headaches of losing your treasured possession, or forking out cash to replace the lost item.
However, AirTags can be used to track YOU without your knowledge.
Privacy is a right and when someone starts tracking every movement you make, that right is breached.
Although Apple has put in measures to prevent unwanted tracking, it’s still possible to track you without your consent using AirTag.
An iPhone can give an alert, “AirTag Found Moving With You”, if an unknown AirTag is nearby, but that’s not the case for Android users, who are at a greater risk of being tracked.
In that situation, the stalker can tamper with the device to disable the speaker so that you can’t tell if an AirTag has been secretly slipped into your car, bag or your other possession.
Apple is working on a similar Android app to notify Android users but the exact date of release is still in the wind.
Corbin Streett, a technology safety specialist at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said:
“Generally, companies are thinking about external threats, not the person who knows your favorite color and your password and who sleeps next to you at night.”
In other words, person close to you can use an AirTag to keep track of your whereabouts without your knowledge, which is controversial.
This gets worse if a person being tracked is a victim of domestic abuse.
Erica Oslen, director of the Safety Net Project also gave her views on the same subject:
“Location tracking is a serious concern for survivors and a common tactic of abuse.
Apple is getting a lot of attention because of the size of their network, which can make these devices more precise than other similar tracking devices.
We are concerned about all possible tracking options because of the safety risks.”
What do you need to do?
Apple was well aware of the concerns that come with AirTags and indicated on their website what you need to do if you suspect that AirTags are being used to track you.
You can follow the link above to read the full steps you need to take.
In addition, these are the other steps you should take to address the matter:
Search for it manually
This is a quick way to find any AirTag slipped into obvious hiding areas but it’s not the best solution.
Get a Bluetooth tracker
Since AirTags use Bluetooth, a Bluetooth tracker can detect any device that is emitting Bluetooth signals nearby.
Find the serial number of the AirTag
When you find an unknown AirTag that is used to track you, you can easily get the serial umber without alerting the owner.
- Download Find My app and launch it.
- Hold the AirTag to the iPhone and you find the serial number under its name.
- If you have a NFC-capable iPhone or Android phone, tap the white side of the AirTag.
- Open the notification that appears and view the serial number on the webpage that opens.
Armed with the serial number, you can visit the law enforcement agents and they work with Apple to unmask the stalker.
Disable the AirTag
Twist the back counter-clockwise and take the battery out.
This disables the AirTag, thus stops it from sharing your location.
You can also find the serial number on the original battery.
Go to the authorities
If you are a victim of domestic violence, consider visiting local services that help with domestic violence.
In the U.S. you can contact National Domestic Violence Hotline.
More gadgets that rely on the internet are being released and this shows how society now relies on technology.
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