Imagine spending the time of your life at Disney World when your stomach drops from a phone notification. It happened to a family from Tennessee when their teenage daughter received an iPhone warning that Apple AirTag was moving with her. Sure, it could have been a fake alert, but it could have meant someone put a Bluetooth tracker in her bag to stalk her.
That is real fear. See all the stories of women who have learned that someone uses AirTag to track their every move. One woman found an Apple AirTag on the underside of the front wheel after exiting the bar. After analyzing 150 police reports that included AirTags, the motherboard identified 50 cases in which women discovered that someone was following them with an Apple AirTag that they did not own.
Although Apple did not create AirTags as spy tools, these gadgets can facilitate stalking, harassment, and even human trafficking. The Tennessee family was utterly terrified when they learned that AirTag was following their 16-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, none of them could find the hidden AirTag.
How to find hidden trackers
You may have never bought a Bluetooth tracker, so you think you don’t need to worry about it. It’s not true. Some jerk you come across may want to put a tracker in your bag or car. Criminals use AirTags to steal cars, so you have to be careful.
Fortunately, Apple will warn you when they follow you. Along with the alert sound, you’ll also get a notification that looks like this on your iPhone:
If you have an Android device, you will need to download it Tracker Detect. If the app detects an AirTag near you for at least 10 minutes, it plays sound. Download the free Tracker Detect app for Android here.
There is only one warning: this app does not send automatic alerts. You must run scans manually.
Another way to find out if someone is following you is to check your pockets and bags when you go out. AirTags are tiny, so people can shove them into hidden cracks without you noticing. Fasten your purses and keep them close.
You should even look over your car to find hidden Bluetooth trackers under your vehicle or on wheels. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, Apple makes it even easier for you to find hidden Bluetooth trackers.
RELATED: Are you worried about spies and thieves using AirTags? Apple is implementing these changes
A few silver plating
Apple is aware of a number of privacy concerns. Works on updates that will make it easier for you to find hidden AirTags. Here are some upcoming updates you should know about:
- Add privacy alerts when people set up AirTags: When someone first sets up their AirTag, they are reminded that the AirTag is meant to keep track of things only. Apple will make it clear that using AirTags to stalk people is a crime in many places around the world.
- Troubleshoot alerts: You may receive a vague warning that says “Unknown add-on detected”. Apple solves this problem so you know exactly what kind of device is following you.
- Updated support article on unwanted tracking: Apple has updated its site on AirTag, AirPods and the entire Find My network. Now you can find out which accessories can trigger a tracking alert, instructions on what to do if you receive an alert, and more. Tap or click here for a new spam tracking support article.
- Precise finding: This feature would help you locate an unknown AirTag so you don’t have to mess around. Precision Finding uses the complex internal machinery of your smartphone to help you find the tracker with – you guessed it – absolute precision.
Apple recently released a firmware update that makes audible alerts even louder. In the past, people missed notifications because the warning sound was too quiet. Thanks to Apple’s security update, you’ll be able to hear the warning.
This means you won’t miss the notification that AirTag is following you, so you can act faster to protect yourself. Here’s everything you need to know about a recognizable sound that lets you know that someone is following you.
What it means to you – and what to do about it
If you receive a warning that AirTag is following you, open the Find My app. Tap the warning, press Continue> Play sound. Listen to the recognizable warning sound. You can play it again if you need more time to find the hidden AirTag.
You may not have heard the warning, but you did find the AirTag. You can use iPhone or Android to see if the owner has marked it as lost.
Just keep the top of your iPhone or Android close to the white side of the AirTag. Tap it and you’ll go to a website that tells you 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 will see his contact information. And yet, you may not see anything. If you think this AirTag is following you or someone else without consent, tap Disable instructions to turn it off.
RELATED: Someone can follow you with a tile or AirTag – red flag to follow you
Keep this warning in mind
Let’s go back to the Tennessean family visiting Disney World. Remember, they never found the hidden AirTag. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has a surprising hypothesis.
Police say there may be no culprit. Maybe there wasn’t a creepy pursuer who shoved an AirTag into the girl’s bag. Maybe a warning rang on her phone because Disney World is full of people with Apple products that are all nearby.
Therefore, it is likely that these were false warnings. So remember: false warnings are possible. But it’s good to be safe, so you should bookmark this page and share it with anyone who might be worried that creepy strangers are following them.
Now that you know how to find hidden trackers, here are some other cybersecurity tips you can check out
The woman was mistreated and stalked. How we found the guy.
How to know if you are being stalked or just paranoid
Online harassment is more common than ever. Do this to stop cyberstalkers
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