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AirTag stalking is still an issue, here’s how to protect yourself

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What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of AirTag stalking?

However, Apple AirTags have already shown themselves to be rather harmful. Since Apple introduced the monitoring tags last year, a considerable number of customers, the majority of whom are female, have complained about AirTag stalking. And it doesn’t seem to be improving.

Actress Hannah Rose May, well known for her parts in Altered Carbon and Nova Vita, recently recounted her personal story of being monitored for at least two hours by a rogue AirTag.

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“On Saturday night, I was fitted with an Apple AirTag to keep tabs on my whereabouts. Having never heard of this until Saturday night, I’m going to tell you what occurred to me so that you may be aware of what to watch out for “The actor gave an explanation.

The Independent(opens in new tab) approached Apple for a response, but was referred to a statement issued in February of this year (opens in new tab).

When it comes to tracking individuals or their property, AirTag was made to assist people find their own stuff, not spy on others. We condemn any harmful use of our goods to the fullest.

To counter AirTag monitoring, Apple has implemented a slew of technologies, but it also insists that the issue isn’t limited to the tracking service’s use cases.

This has long been a social issue, and we took this worry into account while designing AirTag. Since we value your privacy, we designed the Find My network to protect it by encrypting all communications from your device to ours, and we also pioneered the first-ever proactive tracking warning system. “We believe this will set the stage for other companies to follow suit,” said the company.

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This kind of statement isn’t adequate, particularly because it attempts to shift the blame away from Apple.

Apple’s detection technologies seem to have worked as anticipated in May. During an after-hours event in Disneyland, the actress was only alerted by the Find My app that an AirTag had been attached to her body at the end of the night.

Unknown AirTags had been watching May for at least two hours, but she hadn’t seen anything until she opened the message. She had stayed with a group, so the gadget had been turned off before she returned home.

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A coin-sized airtag is all that is needed to identify an aircraft. Putting them in your pocket or handbag is so simple that it’s frightening. Originally designed to help you find your keys, it’s clear they’re being misused for nefarious purposes (opens in new tab). In the blink of an eye, “the happiest location on Earth could’ve [sic] very easily changed into my greatest nightmare.”

What can Apple do about this? 

Users need to be warned sooner, and I agree with May. An uninvited observer could follow and monitor your whereabouts for almost two hours. People should be notified of unfamiliar AirTags in the Find My app earlier and with more difficult-to-miss notifications; this stuff is essential, after all.

The issue isn’t exclusive to Apple, since there are many other trackers available. As a result, thanks to the widespread use of iPhones and the Find My network, AirTags can be tracked more precisely. Because their networks don’t have the same amount of reach as Samsung’s or Tile’s devices, no matter how comparable.

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As a result, Apple must take anti-stalking measures more seriously than it now seems to do. “Those suck, what more can we do about it?” is not an adequate answer to the deaths of people who were monitored by AirTags.

In the time since AirTag was appeared, Apple has made several improvements to its anti-stalking technology. Despite this, there is still much to be desired. This is shown well by the fact that it may take up to two hours before a rogue tracker is discovered. Similarly, you’ll only see such notifications if you’re using an iPhone.

There is an Android app for the Tracker Detect feature, however it needs the user to manually scan the area for AirTags. Apple can and should do more when it comes to detecting unauthorized trackers, no matter how diligent you are about your personal safety.

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For Android to have anti-tracking capabilities that operate like Apple’s Find My, Google has a duty to fulfill. It doesn’t seem, however, that this has been formally revealed, and it is the responsibility of Apple to guarantee that AirTags are not misused in this manner.

How can you avoid being stalked by AirTags?

The good news is that you have options if you’re concerned about being followed by an AirTag. A lot more information is available in our article on how to identify whether an AirTag is tracking you, but here are the essentials.

Users of iPhones: All iPhones up to (and including) the iPhone 6S can detect rogue AirTags if you have iOS 14.5 or later software installed on your device. Find My app has anti-stalking capabilities that may be turned on by pressing the Me symbol in the bottom right corner and confirming that Item Safety Alerts is activated.

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Users using Android devices: Tracker Detect, which is compatible with Android 9.0 and higher, is a simple software to install, but it doesn’t automatically check for tracking. Third-party apps like AirGuard(opens in a new tab) can identify AirTags and other Bluetooth-enabled trackers automatically if you have Android 5.0 or above.

If an AirTag is removed from its associated device for more than 24 hours, it will begin beeping. Given the time limits, it’s not ideal, but it’s better than being monitored for a long amount of time.

What to do if you find a rogue AirTag 

The Find My app allows you to deactivate an AirTag if you discover one on your body. In order to ensure that the tag is no longer linked to the Find My network, removing the battery also works.

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You may accomplish this by pressing down on the rear panel’s center and rotating counter-clockwise. This will allow you to remove the CR2032 battery from the rear of the device. The serial number of the tag was also made public, allowing law enforcement and Apple to hunt down the tag’s original owner.

Make sure you don’t damage or destroy the AirTag once you’ve recorded the serial number. Be careful to submit a police report and pass over the evidence if requested by the authorities.

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