How to tell if you are tracked by an AirTag

How to tell if you are tracked by an AirTag

When Apple launched AirTags in 2021, the ultra-wideband bluetooth tracker was welcomed as a step towards the future of augmented reality and a great way to find the objects we use every day, for example the remote control of your TV. Cybersecurity experts, however, have expressed fears that the tracking device could be exploited by stalkers.

In January 2022, US model Brooks Nader told how during an evening in New York someone had slipped an AirTag secretly into his coat. In Connecticut, a man was arrested and charged with stalking after police found an AirTag in his victim's car. Several law enforcement agencies in the United States have issued warnings about potential criminal uses of the devices.

The new AirPods have tracking features similar to AirTags, but the higher cost of Apple headsets limits their use as a tracking device. tracking. In February, Apple updated the support page dedicated to AirTags with more information and strongly condemning the use of the device for tracking people. According to reports from 9to5Mac, more updates for the trackers will be made available this year.

Although there are several competitors to AirTag on the market, the sheer size of Apple's ecosystem gives the device an edge over its rivals. If you are concerned that a hidden AirTag is recording your location, these signals can help you locate tracke r.

The clues to watch out for The type of smartphone you have affects how easily you can discover any hidden AirTags. Owners of iPhones with iOS 14.5 or a newer version of the operating system should receive a push notification whenever an unknown AirTag remains nearby for an extended period of time and at a distance from its owner. The Apple website does not provide more precise information about the times.

By clicking on the notification, you may be given the opportunity to ring the AirTag to locate the device. To verify that you are correctly receiving these alerts, go to the Find My app, select the Me tab in the lower right corner and verify that the Security Alerts item, under Notifications, is activated.

A some One month after the launch of AirTags, Apple released the Find Tracker app for Android phones. Unlike the security features available for the iPhone, the Android app does not automatically search for unknown AirTags. Users must initiate the scan.

According to Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it is not easy to understand why the app's limited functionality is limited: "This is actually a limitation in the way the ecosystem and the Android apps work - explains Galperin -. I invited Apple and Android to work together to incorporate into the Android operating system the level of mitigation that Apple provides in iOS, but this requires a lot of cooperation between two groups that they are usually rivals ".

Some guides to find AirTags recommend the use of bluetooth scanners, which according to Galperin is not a reliable method for searching for trackers:" I have tried using several bluetooth scanners to detect AirTags, but they don't always work ".

Without a smartphone at hand, you need to rely on visual and audible clues to locate hidden AirTags. The white circular disc is slightly larger than a coin. As the New York Times reported, a woman found an AirTag stuck under the license plate of her car. The video documenting the episode has been viewed over 20 million times on TikTok.

When launched for the first time, the AirTag would beep if it left its owner for more than three days. Apple has since cut the time to 24 hours or less. Despite the update, there's no need to rely on sound alone to detect trackers. Numerous videos on YouTube offer do-it-yourself instructions for turning off the speaker, and for a short time silent versions of the device have been sold on Etsy.

What if I find one? The best way to disable an AirTag is to remove the battery. To do this, turn the device over so that the metal side with the Apple logo is facing you. Press on the logo and rotate counterclockwise. At this point it will be possible to remove the cover and take out the battery.

Apple's support page dedicated to AirTags suggests that you contact the police if you think you are in a dangerous situation.

One way to find out the serial number is to hold the top of an iPhone or other proximity enabled smartphone close to the white side of an AirTag. A website with the serial number will be displayed. If you have any hesitation in scanning the AirTag or are unable to do so, the serial number is also printed under the battery.

Not Just Women In viral stories shared online and in police reports, AirTags are often used for stalking actions against women, but Galperin suggests not framing unwanted tracking as an exclusively female problem: "I have been working with victims of technological abuse for many years - she says - and I would say that about two thirds of victims who come to me are women. But a third are men. I suspect the number would be higher if there was no such prejudice related to being a victim or surviving abuse. " Galperin also points out that men, women and non-binary people can be both victims and abusers.

This article originally appeared on US.

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