( Wall Street Journal ) – Apple Inc. ’ s AAPL -0.10 % AirTags aid you find your lost keys or pocket. They can besides be used in ways that spark privacy and safety concerns—such as stalk or other surveillance. Those concerns prompted Apple to publish an AirTag guard guide last week .
You can detect unwanted AirTag track. It ’ s easier if you use apple devices, but in a rare travel, the company besides built a detection app for Android .
When AirTags went on sale in April 2021, the bottle-cap-size Bluetooth devices promised to give iPhone users a way to locate their personal items, much like the Tile trackers that have been on the market for years. You can attach AirTags to your purse or keys. later, if you need to, you can fire up your iPhone, and track the items to their accurate location within seconds.
Our colleague Joanna Stern reviewed AirTags when they came out. She said they worked better than competing devices at finding everything from a misplace influence ID to a lost pet—but she warned they could well be used to pinpoint humans .
In December, the West Seneca, N.Y., police department said it received two reports that AirTags were “ believed to have been placed on unsuspecting owner ’ s vehicles. ” Police in Iowa confirmed reports of similar incidents. In January, a person in Pennsylvania reported a leery AirTag telling to police after possibly being followed dwelling from a movie dramaturgy .
Unwanted tracking international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate unique to AirTags ; other trackers could be used in a like way. But AirTags ’ speck accuracy—and their high-profile maker—have put them in the spotlight .
iPhone alerts have been key to revealing screen chase. Apple ’ s devices automatically pop up notifications if nameless AirTags have been in their vicinity over clock time. For Android users, Apple introduced a Tracker Detect app in December to sniff out nearby AirTags .
With iPhones, rogue AirTag detection is turned on by default option in the Find My app .
“ That ’ s a big benefit, ” said Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, who follows Apple. “ On Android, those are not defaults. If users are not proactive, they might be under more of a terror. ”
An AirTag emits a chime 8 to 24 hours after being separated from its owner. People who have neither a compatible Apple product nor an Android device with the Tracker Detect app might be made aware of the bearing of an AirTag this way .
Apple declined to comment on the asperity of AirTag spy, or the oscilloscope of its reaction. The company ’ mho AirTag safety guide ( which besides covers other Find My accessories ) answers some questions about it. hera ’ s what else you should know :
How do AirTags work?
AirTags are lightweight, with a slick white coat and a flatware bottom. They use low-power Bluetooth to report their whereabouts. They don ’ t have built-in GPS, but communicate with nearby iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac devices in the Find My network, which do have GPS and other ways to identify placement .
If you have an AirTag connected to a newer iPhone, you can take advantage of more accurate track provided by the U1 ultra-wideband nick in both devices .
AirTags besides have a built-in speaker. not only do they ring when separated from their owner, but the owner can trigger the ring through the Find My app .
How accurate is AirTag tracking?
It can be very precise. If you have an AirTag and an iPhone 11 or newer model, you can tap into Precision Finding to pinpoint an AirTag ’ s claim placement. Ultra-wideband lets you track your AirTag down to the centimeter, and on-screen arrows point the way. preciseness Finding can even tell you if something is on a different deck. ( You can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate use the feature with unknown AirTags, but bad actors could use it to track you with theirs. )
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For direct track, your AirTag must be within Bluetooth range of your device ( a few hundred feet ). If the tag is army for the liberation of rwanda away from you, it reports its location through the Find My network, and is typically accurate to the street address, Apple said .
Do AirTags work for pets?
Apple doesn ’ metric ton marketplace AirTags as darling trackers, but they are water-repellent, and nothing is stopping you from attaching one to your cad ’ s collar. To mark an AirTag as doomed, go to the Find My app and search for the detail. Tap the detail ’ randomness mention and under Lost Mode, solicit Enable. You can then add a message to be displayed for the person who finds it .
How do I know if an AirTag is following me?
For iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users, Apple built in anti-stalking features to discourage tracking people without their cognition. Apple ’ s Find My network could notify your smartphone if an AirTag not registered to you is moving with you over time. The telling would say, “ Item Detected Near You. ”
The time it takes to trigger one of those alerts depends on where you are, where you ’ ve been and how long an AirTag has been following you. If the network detects an unknown AirTag traveling with you and arriving at your home, you could get an immediate telling saying “ AirTag Found Moving With You. ” If the AirTag belongs to person in your Family Sharing group, the owner ’ south name would appear in the alert .
The automatic notifications only work on smartphones and iPods running io 14.5 or late and iPads running iPadOS 14.5 or later. If you don ’ triiodothyronine want to get pinged, you can turn those Item Safety Alerts off in the Find My app .
What if I don’t have an Apple device?
The Tracker Detect app for Android lets you scan for nearby AirTags. If one is in your vicinity for more than 10 minutes, and the app picks it up, you can make it play a chime for easier placement. The hitch—and it ’ s a big one—is you have to look for AirTags manually. The app doesn ’ t run in the backdrop to automatically search and notify you, as iPhones do .
AirTags besides play a chime somewhere between eight and 24 hours after being separated from their register owner .
I found a lost AirTag. Now what?
If you hear an AirTag chime or find a miss detail with an AirTag attached, you can use any Apple or Android device with NFC technology—found in most recent smartphones—to help return it .
Hold your smartphone near the white side of the AirTag until a notification appears on your phone. It should provide information about the AirTag. If its owner marked it as lost, you ’ ll be able to view the contact information.
If you found the AirTag in your possessions, and it doesn ’ thyroxine show as lost, you should disable it and reach police enforcement .
How do I disable an AirTag?
If you get an AirTag alarm on your iPhone, you can disable it to stop sharing its placement. On the telling, wiretap Instructions and follow the on-screen prompt : You press the silver side of the AirTag and twist it counterclockwise, then take off the cover charge to remove the battery. The AirTag can no long be tracked .