Apple AirTags can track you without your knowledge
Apple launched its AirTag product, a small chip that can help people track lost items, in 2021. But it’s already being used to track people without their knowledge.
Apple introduced the AirTag, a device designed to locate lost items, in April 2021. The device, shaped like a poker chip, connects to Apple’s network so it can be easily tracked by an Apple device .
But many people have speculated that AirTags could be used for more nefarious purposes. News articles about AirTags being used as a harassment tool appeared as early as May, not even a month after launch. More recently, a Facebook post of someone warning others about their experience of being tracked by a stranger’s AirTag without their knowledge went viral, with other forms of claim spreading to TikTok.
Can someone use an AirTag to track your location without your knowledge?
Yes, people can use AirTags to track your location without your knowledge, but Apple products will notify their users that an AirTag is tracking them after a few hours and the AirTag itself will begin to make its presence known with noise in the 24 hours.
WHAT WE FOUND
An AirTag is a small poker chip-shaped object that acts as a tracking signal for the user. It uses Bluetooth to connect to Apple’s network so it can connect to the user’s iOS device – like iPhones, iPads and Mac computers – from anywhere. Apple created it to help people find lost items, and it connects to an iOS app that can tell the user its exact location.
The claim made by social media users and some law enforcement agencies is that bad actors buy AirTags to track people without their knowledge, often by hiding the AirTag in the victim’s car. By doing this, the person who left the AirTag can see the general location of the victim through the app on their iOS device.
Apple tried to forestall this issue when it launched AirTag in April with some security measures to discourage this practice.
If an AirTag remains separated from its owner for eight to 24 hours, the AirTag will begin to emit a sound to alert people nearby to its presence, Apple explains. When it does so within that time frame, it’s random, according to Apple, to make it harder for bad actors to use AirTags to track others.
If the tracked person has an iPhone, their phone will notify them as soon as it notices that someone else’s AirTag has been traveling with the person for a period of time, although Apple hasn’t specified how long. time it takes. People with Android phones or other types of phones aren’t getting notifications that an AirTag nearby is tracking them, although Apple plans to release an Android app later this year that will let users detect AirTags nearby separated from their owner.
According to Apple’s product page for AirTags, a map on the victim’s iPhone will show them where they traveled while the stranger’s AirTag tracked them. The map does not show where the AirTag was except while it was with the victim it notifies.
This is because this location information is only collected and stored by the iPhone itself, not the AirTag. “No location data or location history is physically stored in AirTag,” Apple said when it launched AirTags. He added that the AirTag’s communication with the network is encrypted “so that only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location. of any device that helped find it”.
York Regional Police near Toronto, Canada issued warnings in early December 2021 against car thieves who used AirTags to track targeted vehicles. Det. Jeff McKercher said his department has investigated five such cases since September 2021.
“We’ve seen them installed in the gas cap area, as well as the towing system of the vehicle, the trailer hitch – that’s what we’ve seen recently – but they can install them anywhere on the vehicle,” McKercher said in a public information video.
An Apple support page says you can disable an AirTag that’s tracking you with iPhones and Androids. Once you find the AirTag nearby, you can tap it against your phone to see an onscreen prompt sharing the AirTag’s information and giving you instructions on how to turn it off.
Apple says to contact local law enforcement if you think your safety is at risk.
More CHECK: No, posting to your profile will not prevent Facebook from collecting and sharing your data.