Are you being tracked using Apple AirTags?
If you haven’t already heard, Apple AirTag technology, whose intention is to help you locate your car keys, bags/luggage, wallet, other personal items, etc., is now being used as a tactic to track people.
According to an article by Alison DeNisco Rayome on Cnet.com, “While Apple has built-in certain protections to discourage unwanted tracking and recently added more in an update, it's still possible for someone to slip an AirTag into your bag or car without your consent and track your location. And unfortunately, there are few ways to detect if someone is using an AirTag (or any similar device, like a Tile or Samsung SmartTag tracker) to follow you.”
How would you know?
A notification that says “AirTag Found Moving With You.” However, that’s only if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running newer software, not Androids. Apple is currently working on an Android app for this purpose.
Apple also has AirTags sound an alarm if separated from their owner after three days. It will sound at a random time, lasting anywhere between 8 and 24 hours.
How can you protect yourself?
Contact local law enforcement, who can work with Apple to determine the owner (that is, if you find the AirTag and/or have the serial number).
Conduct a manual search of yourself, your clothes, your bags, your car, etc.
Attempt to narrow it down. The article states, “If you suspect someone is using an AirTag or similar device to track you, you should consider what information they seem to know, and try to narrow down the items you have with you during those times, Olsen said. This can help you identify if something may be in your personal belongings, your car, or in your home.”
Invest in a Bluetooth tracker. “AirTags use Bluetooth signals to connect to Apple's Find My network. You can use Bluetooth tracking apps to scan your area to see if an AirTag is nearby. While the apps won't identify AirTags by name, they may help you see if there is an unknown device nearby. A couple options noted by Macworld include Bluetooth BLE Device Finder and BLE Scanner.”
Identify the AirTag serial number, without alerting the owner. “If you have an iPhone, you can download Apple's Find My app and hold the AirTag up to your device. Find the name of the AirTag and tap it. The serial number will appear under the name. Alternatively, you can tap and hold the top of your NFC-capable iPhone or Android phone to the white side of the AirTag, then tap the notification that appears. The webpage that opens will show the serial number. (You can also find it on the battery by removing it, but that will make it so the owner can't see your location.) Again, this information can be helpful if you end up needing to go to law enforcement.”
Disable the AirTag. “If you find an AirTag on you, you can easily disable it to stop sharing your location by twisting counter-clockwise on the back by the Apple logo and taking the battery out. The person on the other end will no longer be able to see your location. However, if you do find out that you are being tracked, particularly by a current or former intimate partner, domestic violence experts recommend coming up with a safety plan and consulting with a domestic violence service before turning off the tracker.”
Stay safe and vigilant!