AirTags Are A Growing Headache For Apple Amid Disturbing Reports Of Tracking


Sam, a Brooklyn woman, was returning home from a bar helping her manage when she received a phone call a few weeks ago saying “Your location will be visible to the owner of this AirTag.” ..

She had never heard of AirTags, a button-sized location tracking device that Apple launched last April.society Sell ​​them An easy way to track your essentials, such as keys and wallets, is $ 29 per piece and $ 99 in packs of four.

Sam’s phone call, which was 1:00 am, first saw one AirTag device tracking her at 5:51 am the day before, the second first late that afternoon. Was detected. Most surprisingly, the notice included a map with a red line that showed exactly where Sam had just walked from the bar to the apartment building.

A friend she asked for advice helped her understand what to look for: a round silver-white tip a little over an inch wide.

“I look at everything, my bag and everything, my gym bag, jacket,” recalls Sam, who asked the HuffPost not to use her full name to protect her privacy. ..

But she didn’t see anything unusual. At the suggestion of her friend, she changed her clothes she was wearing and returned out of the apartment, but saw a red line tracking her movements. Both she and her friends carefully examined her phone case, but still found nothing. Sam walked down the street around the apartment and saw her red line chasing her.

Nationwide Female is reporting Similar incidents Work with police and local news media to raise public awareness that Apple’s AirTag is hidden in cars and personal belongings and can track people unknowingly.The story has skyrocketed on TikTok, some posted on Reddit When twitter..

Some people find the device, others don’t.

New York City model Brooks Nader shared her experience on Instagram earlier this year.She said She was out in a crowded bar She was back in the apartment when her coat was hanging in a chair and she was notified about the unknown AirTag device that followed her.

“I just want people to know that this exists,” she said. On Instagram..

Posted by Ashley Estrada, a Los Angeles woman Virus TikTok I will explain how to find the device sandwiched between the license plate and the body of the car.Oregon woman I told a similar story..

In Philadelphia, Courtney Chandler Told local news station 6ABC She woke up last month with the same iPhone notification about an unknown AirTag, but at some point the night before she got home, it seemed to have fallen.

“The very scary thing about it is that I don’t know who did this to me. I don’t know their intentions,” Chandler told the outlet.

The location tracking device is not new. Tile also manufactures pocket-sized trackers for keys and wallets and is marketed as “the world’s largest lost property office.”

However, Apple’s network is particularly strong. AirTags can use Bluetooth technology and the Find My network that uses someone else’s iPhone, MacBook, or iPad- Hundreds of millions of devices, According to Apple, ping the owner with location information. This process is so efficient that it has little effect on the battery power of the device. And since the world is already covered with Apple products, location data is generally very accurate.

LandAirSea’s tracking device relies on satellite GPS tracking with a monthly paid subscription. Tile also uses Bluetooth like AirTags.But one New York Times tech reporter Who tried those three different products to track her husband We have found that Apple devices provide the most tangible results, especially in metropolitan environments. (Yes, she had his permission.)

Apple has responded many times to concerns about AirTags over the past year.Immediately after their release, The Washington Post Publish the story “Apple’s AirTag has made it terribly easy to” stalk “me in testing. I added the heading.This week the company Announcing more new safety features At the same time protect the tracker.

“Since AirTag was released last April, users have been writing to share countless stories that helped AirTag reunite with something of value.” Said Here’s an example that includes a child reuniting with an important medicine lost on the bus on Thursday.

Not all social media posts are negative. One TikTok video showed a device looping in smiling women’s shorts, saying, “Whenever a friend buys AirTag and is tracking you at party bc, he’s running away.”

But Apple also admits that some people are using AirTags the wrong way.

“We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag’s privacy and security,” Apple said in a statement to the HuffPost, highlighting the safety features that the company has dubbed “the industry’s first.” Did. This feature “notifies the user if an unknown AirTag may be attached to the user and prevents malicious persons from using AirTag for fraudulent purposes,” he said.

An iPhone running iOS 14.5 or later will send a notification when it detects that you are traveling with someone who does not own AirTag. Notifications will pop up at the end of the day, or when your iPhone detects that you have arrived at home. This may explain why Sam received the notification. If you have an Android phone, you can download the app. Introduced in DecemberIt informs them about the mysterious AirTag that follows them.

AirTag also makes noise when isolated from its owner. This occurs at random times of 8 to 24 hours after separation. According to the company, randomization helps stop malicious people. You can use your phone to force the AirTag to chirp, so you can find it more quickly.

The company is instructing anyone who finds an unwanted AirTag to use or disassemble and disable the phone. Detailed instructions can be found on that website...

Screenshot from Sam's phone.
Screenshot from Sam’s phone.

However, technology can be uneven, as anyone who has used Bluetooth speakers can prove. Sam followed her phone prompt and tried to get the two AirTags that followed her to make a sound, but couldn’t connect and play the sound.

She began to suspect a man in the apartment building who saw her and found him chasing the street. Sam threw a cell phone case that doubled as a purse into the trash can outside Bodega and grabbed some to spend the night with his friends.

Later, her phone call showed that AirTags stopped her pursuit around 4 am, limiting her three-hour trial. She suspects her phone case, but she has no way of knowing for sure.

“If users feel their safety is at stake, we encourage you to work with Apple to contact a local law enforcement agency that can provide you with available information about the unknown AirTag.” Apple said in a statement to the HuffPost.

Each AirTag has a serial number that you can link to the owner. But if you can’t find AirTag, you can’t do anything.

Amber Norsworthy, a Mississippi woman, said she received a notice while in the park with her three children, but they did not find anything when they examined their entire belongings.

“I think they should stop selling them for a period of time until they can solve some safety boundaries with it,” Norsworthy said. Told the BBC last month.

According to the company, it regularly works with law enforcement agencies to track devices, which in some cases can lead to billing and even reveal misunderstandings such as when a family member rents a car.

In Brooklyn, Sam went to the local NYPD station.

“They were very negative,” she said. The officer she spoke to refused to write anything down. “They were like this.” There is nothing to report. Nothing happened. Don’t just write a report. This is not like a TV show. “

A woman who talked to the New York Times on this issue reported Equally boring experience Deal with the police.

Sam eventually changed the lock on his apartment and installed a small security camera outside the door for peace of mind. The man who noticed she was looking at her, Subletter, later moved.

Apple announcement An update was planned for Thursday later this year to make AirTag easier to find.

One such update, Accurate Search, allows you to use your mobile phone to see how far AirTag is, and another update immediately tells users that AirTag is following. You can be notified. Apple also confirmed that AirPods were known to prompt notifications with slightly different expressions, saying “an unknown accessory was detected,” and in a future update, the device will be a harmless pair of headphones. I said that I would specify it.

Apple plans to display messages to people who have AirTags set up to acknowledge that the device is dedicated to tracking personal belongings, and using them to track people without permission is often a crime. It states.

But what people do with that information is beyond the control of the company.

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