Apple AirTags can be used to track you. Here’s how to make that stop


Airtags can be used to trace someone’s location. Here are some tips for your safety.

Airtags are there to help you keep track of your things, but they can be potentially misused.

Apple’s new airtag tracking device promises to help you locate lost keys, bags or other items — but what if someone uses one of the smaller discs to track You?

While Apple has more recently introduced certain protections to discourage unwanted tracking More added in an update, it is still possible for someone to slip a airtag Track your location and in your bag or car without your consent. And unfortunately, there are few ways to find out if someone is using an AirTag (or a similar device, like a .) Tile or Samsung SmartTag Tracker) to follow you.

“Location tracking is a serious concern for survivors and a common tactic of abuse,” said Erica Olsen, director of the Safety Net Project at the nonprofit National Network to End Domestic Violence. “Apple is getting a lot of attention because of the size of its network, which may make these devices more accurate than other similar tracking devices. We are concerned about all possible tracking options due to security risks.”

So what can you do to protect yourself from being tracked by AirTag?

New technology, old privacy concerns

Airtags use a combination of sensors, wireless signals and Apple’s extensive Find My network to help people locate lost items. Apple built in a number of security measures — an industry first — to prevent people from using the devices to track them. However, many have noted that those protections may not be enough to protect victims.

When launched in April, these included a notification that said “AirTag Found Moving With You” — but only if you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later. In June, Apple said it was working on android app Will be released later this year, to notify users about unwanted airtags traveling with them.

Apple also initially made noise when AirTags were separated from their owners after three days. With the update, that alarm will sound at random times within a window lasting between 8 and 24 hours.

Olsson said the privacy concerns around AirTag are part of a larger issue.

“Technology doesn’t cause abuse, but it can facilitate it,” Olsen said. “Abusive people will use any number of tactics to establish power and control, so it is not unusual for someone to abuse multiple technologies and also to prevent non-technical related abuse.”

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Apple has built in more security to prevent people from using AirTag to track them.

Whenever a new Internet of Things product is introduced, it’s going to raise some red flags, said Jarmina Wasim, director of cybersecurity education at the National Cyber ​​Security Alliance. The release of a product like AirTags is in some ways similar to a new operating system, she said – Apple will find the issues and then mitigate them in subsequent updates, as we’ve already seen.

Airtag. are different from stalkerware, or software that someone installs on your device without your knowledge or consent, that transmits your personal information — such as your text messages, social media communications and your location — to their device. But using a device like an AirTag to monitor someone’s location may be the first step in the chase, said Viktor Chebyshev, lead security researcher on the Global Research and Analysis team, especially if the abuser has physical access to your phone or laptop. There is no access. Security firm Kaspersky.

“We are sure that this will happen … Anyone can become a victim,” Chebyshev said. “And the problem is that victims don’t have an effective solution to this problem right now.”

While the new, earlier alert sent to iPhone users is a good move, the 24-hour period may still be too long, Chebyshev said. From a security point of view, once the AirTag is connected, it would be best to notify the user within a random time frame of few hours. (Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

What can you do to prevent yourself from being tracked by Airtags?

If you believe your security is at risk, Apple recommends contacting your local law enforcement, who may work with the company (you may need to provide the AirTag or its serial number). However, some victims may be unable to do so. Here are some other possible solutions to stop someone from following you with AirTag.

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A hidden AirTag may not be as obvious as the one on your backpack’s keychain.

find yourself manually

The most basic form of protection is to manually search yourself and your car for places where the airtag may have slipped – for example, the pockets of your clothing or bag, or under cushions. However, this is not the most effective, as airtags are so small and can be easily hidden.

try to reduce it

If you suspect that someone is using an AirTag or similar device to track you, you should consider what information they know, and reduce the amount of items you have at the time. Try it, Olson said. This can help you identify if something may be in your personal belongings, your car, or your home.

Invest in a Bluetooth Tracker

AirTags use a Bluetooth signal 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. Although the app won’t recognize airtags by name, they can help you see if there are unknown devices nearby. Some of the options noted by Macworld include Bluetooth BLE Device Finder and BLE Scanner.

Find the serial number of AirTag

If you locate the airtag on you, there are two ways to find the serial number of the airtag without notifying 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 on it. The serial number will appear under the name. Alternatively, you can tap and hold the top of your NFC-enabled iPhone or Android phone on the white part of the AirTag, then tap the notification that appears. The webpage that opens will show the serial number. (You can also find it by taking it out on the battery, but this will make it impossible for the owner to see your location.) Again, this information can be helpful when you need to go to law enforcement.

disable airtag

If you find an AirTag on top of you, you can easily disable it to stop sharing your location by the Apple logo by turning it backwards counterclockwise and taking out the battery. The person on the other end will no longer be able to see your location.

However, if you find out that you are being tracked, especially by a current or former intimate partner, domestic violence experts advise: Coming up with a Safety Plan And consult a domestic violence service before discontinuing the tracker.

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AirTag can be disabled by removing the battery.

Call for help if possible

If possible, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) to learn more and connect with local programs near you.

For more, read our guide Protecting Your Online Privacy After a Breakup, and What to do if you are a target of stalkerware?.

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