It’s a realistic fear. Take a look at all the stories of women who found out that someone was using AirTag to track their every move. One woman found an Apple AirTag on the bottom of her front wheel after exiting a bar. After analyzing 150 police reports of AirTag, the motherboard identified 50 cases where women found out that someone was tracking them using an Apple AirTag they don’t have.
While Apple didn’t create AirTags as spy tools, these gadgets can facilitate stalking, harassment, and even human trafficking. The Tennessean family were utterly horrified to learn that AirTag was tracking their 16-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, none of them could find the hidden AirTag.
How to find hidden trackers
Maybe you’ve never bought a Bluetooth tracker, so you don’t think you need to worry about it. Not true. Any bastard you run into might want to slip the tracking device into your bag or car. Criminals use AirTags to steal cars, so you need to be careful.
Luckily, Apple will alert you whenever you are being tracked. Along with the alert sound, you’ll also get a notification that looks like this on the iPhone:
If you have an Android device, you need to download Tracking detection. If the app detects a nearby AirTag for at least 10 minutes, it will play a sound. Download the free Tracker Detect app for Android here.
There is only one caveat: this application does not send automatic alerts. You need to run the scan manually.
Another way to tell if someone is following you is to check your pockets and bags when you leave. AirTags are small so people can slip them into hidden slots without your attention. Close the bags and keep them close to you.
You should even scan your car for hidden Bluetooth trackers under the vehicle or on the wheels. Sure, it’s annoying, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Luckily, Apple makes it even easier to find hidden Bluetooth trackers.
ASSOCIATED WITH: Worried that stalkers and thieves are using AirTags? Apple is making these changes
Several silver linings
Apple is aware of many privacy concerns. He is working on updates to help you find hidden AirTags. Here are some upcoming updates you should know about:
- Add privacy alerts when people set up AirTags: When someone sets up an AirTag for the first time, they remember that the AirTag is used to track things just. Apple will explain that using AirTags to stalk people is a crime in many places around the world.
- Troubleshoot alerts: You may receive a vague warning saying “Unknown Accessories Detected”. Apple fixes this problem, so you know exactly what device is tracking you.
- Updated Unwanted Tracking Help Article: Apple has updated its website on AirTag, AirPods and the entire Find My network. Now you can find out which accessories can trigger a tracking alert, tips on what to do if you get an alert, and more. Touch or click here to view a new help article on Unwanted Tracking.
- Precise Finding: This feature will help you locate an unknown AirTag so you don’t have to fumble around. Precision Search uses your smartphone’s complex internal machinery to help you find your tracker with – you guessed it – absolute precision.
Apple recently introduced a firmware update that makes the audible alerts even louder. In the past, people have missed notifications because the alert sound was too quiet. With an Apple security update, you’ll be able to hear an alert.
This means you won’t miss a notification that AirTag is tracking you, so you can act faster to protect yourself. Here’s everything you need to know about the signature sound that lets you know when someone is following you.
What this means for you – and what to do about it
If you get an alert that the AirTag is keeping an eye on you, open the Find My app. Tap an alert, tap Continue> Play Sound. Listen to the distinctive alert sound. You can play again if you need more time to find the hidden AirTag.
Maybe you didn’t hear the warning but found the AirTag anyway. You can use an iPhone or Android to check if its owner has marked it as lost.
Just hold the top of your iPhone or Android near the white AirTag page. Tap it and you will be taken to a website which lists the AirTag serial number and the last four digits of the owner’s phone number.
Here’s what the page will look like:
If the owner has marked AirTag as lost, you’ll see their contact details. On the other hand, you may not see anything. If you think AirTag is tracking you or someone else without permission, tap Shutdown instructions to turn it off.
ASSOCIATED WITH: Someone may be following you with a Tile or AirTag – red flags you are being followed by
Remember this caveat
Let’s go back to the Tennessean family visiting Disney World. Remember that they never found the hidden AirTag. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has a surprising hypothesis.
Officers say there may not be the perpetrator. Maybe there wasn’t the creepy stalker slipped the AirTag into the girl’s bag. Perhaps an alert rang on her phone because Disney World is full of people with Apple products nearby.
So it is likely that these were incorrect alerts. So remember: False alarms are possible. But it’s okay to be safe, so you should bookmark this page and share it with anyone who may fear being tracked by scary strangers.
Now that you know how to find hidden trackers, here are some other cybersecurity tips worth checking out
The woman was harassed and stalked. How did we find the guy.
How do you know if you are being followed or are you just paranoid?
Internet abuse is more common than ever. Do this to stop cybercriminals
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