Everyone Should Be Aware Of The Potential Misuse Of Apple AirTags

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
James D. Morgan/Getty

In today’s crazy world, we are constantly warned to keep our guard up. One woman on TikTok recently illustrated how important that is by opening up about a scary situation that all iPhone users need to know about.

TikToker angel.edge95 was traveling from Texas to Maine when an “unknown accessory detected” alert popped up on her iPhone that she’d never seen before. The alert also said that the device was first detected at 8:45 am at a Walmart in Texas; she was currently on the East Coast.

She attempted to remove the device, but was met with another stumbling block. In order for the device to be turned off, she would need the serial number. But obviously she didn’t know where the device was — or how it got there — so she couldn’t stop the tracking at all.

Then, another notification popped up on her screen, this time saying that the tracker had been with her for a while and the owner could see her location. The screen then showed a map outlining where she had been and red dots at spots where the tracker received her location information. She searched her belongings, but found nothing.

She went to the police and they ultimately found the Apple AirTag taped to the inside of her duffle bag. It should be said that AirTags can be a safe, easy way to keep track of your stuff, like your keys or wallet. But if the AirTag user’s intentions are not good, they can be used in harmful ways.

If you search #airtag in TikTok, there are similar stories of people being tagged without their knowledge. But how big of a problem is this?

Business Insider is reporting that AirTags are being used to help thieves track things like luxury cars to a homeowner’s driveway and stealing them. And one Reddit thread reported that Apple AirPods have been known to trick the system and cause tracking alerts to appear on your phone. If this happens to you and you’re an AirPods owner, disconnect and reconnect them as a new device; the alerts may disappear. If they do, then it was simply an AirPods error. If not, you likely need to be more cautious and try your best to locate the AirTag.

It should also be noted that these messages do not always mean that you are being tracked. Many parents put them on things like their children’s backpacks. Let’s say you are on public transportation and a child with a tracker is close by. Because you are in close proximity and may be stationary next to that tracker for sometime, it could cause your phone to send alerts. Just keep on eye on the alerts. If the alerts keep coming after a long period of time, you need to try to locate the tracker.

What should you do if you find an AirTag on your belongings? Contact the police immediately and attempt to disable the device. Entering the tag’s serial number into your iPhone should do this, as long as you can locate it. Be conscientious of your surroundings and pay attention to alerts when they come up on your phone.

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