AirTag tracking detection methods

AirTag tracking detection methods

The Apple AirTag: A Handy Device with New Safety Features

Image Source: ZDNet

The Apple AirTag is a small and useful device that allows you to conveniently keep track of your most important belongings, such as keys, wallets, remotes, and even bikes. However, recent reports of AirTags being used for unauthorized tracking have raised concerns about their implications and usage.

To address these concerns, Apple has made significant changes to the functionality of AirTags. They have reiterated to AirTag owners that these tracking devices should only be used for tracking their belongings and should never be used for unwanted tracking of others. Apple has also added a new safety feature that allows users to detect if an AirTag is moving with them, providing an extra layer of protection.

How to Know If an AirTag Is Tracking You

To determine if an AirTag is tracking you, you will need an iPhone or an Android phone with the Tracker Detect app installed. If you suspect someone may be tracking your movements using an AirTag, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your safety.

  1. Receive an Alert on Your iPhone If you own an iPhone and an AirTag is tracking you, your phone may alert you with a notification stating “AirTag found moving with you.” This alert will only occur if the following conditions are met:
    • The AirTag is separated from its owner.
    • Your iPhone is awake.
    • The AirTag emits a sound when moved. This alert feature also applies to other Find My network accessories, such as AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max.
Notification of AirTag found moving with you
  1. Check Your Tracking Notifications If you do not receive an alert for an unknown AirTag nearby, you may need to ensure that your tracking notifications are turned on. Follow these steps:

    1. Go to Settings and select Privacy.
    2. Tap on Location Services and enable it.
    3. Go to System Services.
    4. Enable both Find My iPhone and Significant Locations.
    5. Go back to Settings and select Bluetooth.
    6. Enable Bluetooth.
    7. Open the Find My app, tap on yourself, and enable Tracking Notifications.
    Enabling Tracking Notifications in System Services
  2. Check the Find My App When AirTags are separated from their owners, they emit a sound when moved to aid in their retrieval. If you hear an unfamiliar sound that you believe could be an AirTag, you can open the Find My app on your Apple device. Ensure that the second step mentioned above is completed, and then check the app to see if an AirTag has been detected.

    Additionally, thoroughly check your belongings for any hidden AirTags. Pat down jackets, bags, and thoroughly search the pockets of your pants, purse, and wallet.

  3. Play a Sound on AirTag If you receive an alert about an AirTag traveling with you, you can use the Find My app to play a sound on the device to locate it easily. Follow these steps:

    1. Open the Find My app on your iPhone and tap on the alert notification.
    2. Tap Continue and then Find Nearby.
    3. Move around your space following the instructions on the screen.

    Please note that the Play a Sound option is only available if the AirTag owner is not nearby and their Apple device is out of range. The precision finding feature is only available on iPhone models 11, 12, 13, and 14 with ultra-wideband technology.

    If you are unable to play a sound from the Find My app, it is likely that the unknown AirTag is no longer near you and your iPhone cannot detect it.

  4. Check AirTag Information Once you locate the AirTag, you can use your iPhone or any other NFC-enabled smartphone to view its information. Simply hold the top of your phone near the white side of the AirTag and wait for it to be recognized. A notification will appear, leading you to a website displaying the AirTag’s serial number and the last four digits of the owner’s phone number. If the AirTag is lost and the owner has provided contact information, you can use these details to reunite the AirTag with its owner.

    Viewing AirTag information with an NFC-enabled smartphone
  5. Disable the AirTag If you find an AirTag and are concerned about unwanted tracking or your safety, you can disable it. To disable an AirTag, simply remove the battery by pushing down and twisting the cover counterclockwise. This action will prevent the owner from seeing the AirTag’s location or receiving any updates. It is essential to take screenshots of this process, contact local law enforcement, and provide them with the disabled AirTag for further investigation.

FAQs

Q: How do I know if an AirTag is tracking me on Android?

A: Android users can download the Tracker Detect app from the Google Play store. This app allows you to scan for trackers compatible with Apple’s Find My network that are within Bluetooth range. If an AirTag has been separated from its owner, the app can help you locate it and play a sound to aid in retrieval.

Q: Do AirTags have GPS?

A: No, AirTags do not have GPS. Instead, they utilize the Find My network, consisting of nearly two billion iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs. AirTags emit anonymous Bluetooth signals that can be picked up by devices within a 30-foot range. These devices then send the AirTag’s location information to iCloud, enabling users to track their belongings through the Find My app.

Q: How do I stop an AirTag from tracking me?

A: The easiest way to prevent an AirTag from tracking you is to remove the battery. By doing so, the AirTag becomes disabled, and its owner will no longer receive any tracking information. It is important to note that disabling an AirTag does not trigger a notification for the owner.

Q: Can anyone track my Apple AirTag?

A: Apple has implemented security measures to protect the privacy of AirTag users. AirTags frequently change their Bluetooth identifiers, preventing anyone else from continuously tracking them. Additionally, the Find My network employs end-to-end encryption, ensuring the security of users’ tracking data. While someone cannot track your AirTag, they may hear it if it is separated from you and emitting a sound. If you have chosen to include contact information, they may also access this information by using NFC technology.

The Apple AirTag remains a useful device, and with the new safety features and precautions taken by Apple, users can feel more secure knowing that their privacy is protected. By following the steps outlined above, one can easily detect and manage any AirTags that may be tracking their movements, ensuring control and peace of mind.