Apple’s AirTag Tracker Raises Privacy Concerns

Here are some tips on how to protect against unwanted uses of the technology


Sofia Oakley

Apple creates a tracking device called AirTag on April 30, 2021. AirTag’s help to find belongings that may be easily misplaced. These items include keys, backpacks, and wallets.

Sofia Oakley, Multimedia Editor

Apple has invented a new tracking device called AirTags. This newest technology is designed to act as a key finder that people can use to track everything from keys to wallets to backpacks. When the AirTag is activated it sends out a Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My app.

This new technology created by Apple has become a competitor to a similar device called “Tile.” The main difference between the two is that AirTags can only be used by a person who owns an Apple device. Whereas Tile can be used by any cell phone.

The AirTag measures to be 1.26 inches in diameter and 0.31 inches in height. Although the price for these small tracking devices may not be in everyone’s budget; it’s $29 for one on Apple’s website or four for $99.

This newest technology seems to be efficient and cheap however there have been numerous reports of stalkers and thieves using them for their own agenda.

“I had one that I used for my keys,” said Lindsey Pasin, 20, an interior design major. “However when I heard all the stories of unwanted tracking with these devices I got rid of mine.”

AirTags have been found in various hidden places. Including backpacks, coat pockets, cars, luggage, and license plates.

AirTags can connect with more than the owner’s Apple device. Using Bluetooth, an AirTag sends a signal that any nearby iPhone, iPad, or Macbook can detect. In other words, these tracking devices can send the location of the tag to Apple’s cloud network and on to the owner.

“It’s sad and creepy to think that these helpful devices toward everyday life are being turned around and becoming a helpful resource to kidnappers and stalkers,” said Pasin.

If you are to find one or get a notification that an “AirTag Found Moving With You,” contact law enforcement safely. In addition, here are some helpful protocols to follow after:

  1. Check on the Find My app if you’re able to play a sound on the unknown device
  2. Tap the alert
  3. Tap continue and tap play the sound
  4. Listen for an alarming sound. You can play the sound over and over until the accessory is found

If the option to play a sound is not available, look through your belongings to try and locate it. Check items that you don’t check often, like pockets, outer compartments of any bags, and your vehicle.

If you do find this device and believe it may be tracking you without your consent, information will pop up on your phone and you will be able to officially disable it.

“Always trust your gut,” said Pasin. “If you feel that you’re being stalked, trust your own instincts they are normally spot on. They can help you get out of a dangerous situation.”

AirTag’s have only been on the market for almost a year. People question if this technology should be taken off the market as people have taken advantage of it. They are helpful in ways to help find your lost keys, wallet, or bag. However, they can also be used in ways that violate society’s privacy and safety.

Apple is aware and has been creating software updates to help. One change includes that an AirTag will play a sound if it’s away from its owner for too long. The time frame was originally three days but it was changed to anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.

“As new technologies continue to be created, it becomes much easier for one to abuse and misuse them,” said Pasin. “The AirTag’s may be helpful for those who lose or forget items easily but it’s not worth putting society safety at risk.”