Airtags or Airtracks? Here’s how to stay safe from Apple’s tiny trackers

Just as easily as the functionality of Apple’s tiny tracking device, AirTag, helps the user locate lost keys or bags, it can also be used to interrogate and track people without their knowledge.

There has been skepticism around the AirTag since its launch in April 2021. At the time of its launch, Apple promised to give iPhone users a convenient way to find their stuff by simply attaching the Bluetooth device to the bag. by hand or by the user’s keys. To follow the article, it was enough to check the iPhone.

AirTags use low energy Bluetooth to send signals to detect nearby Apple devices. Although the device does not have built-in GPS, it can communicate with other iPhone devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac devices in the Find My app network. AirTags have a built-in speaker, which triggers an alarm when the device is separated from its owner. The user can also trigger the ringtone on the device through the Find My app.

The device can track items very precisely and direct a user to the exact location within seconds. However, for direct item tracking, the AirTag must be within Bluetooth range of the item. For items further afield, AirTags use the Locate network to report location.

Many people have taken to social media claiming that the device is increasingly being used for nefarious activities.

The West Seneca, New York, police department received two reports in December complaining that AirTag trackers had been placed on vehicles of unsuspecting owners, The Wall Street Journal reported. Similar reports have reached the Iowa police. A person from Pennsylvania also reported a suspicious AirTag notification in January that they had been tracked home from a movie theater.

Responding to concerns, the Cupertino-based tech giant released an AirTag safety guide last week that outlines some steps a user can take to stay safe. To discourage unwanted tracking, Apple devices send notifications if unknown AirTags are nearby. In December, Apple launched a Tracker Detect app for Android users, also to detect nearby AirTags.

The Tracker Detect app also allows the user to search for nearby AirTags. However, once notified, the Android user will have to manually search for AirTags as the app does not automatically search and send notifications like in the iPhone.

Once a lost item with an attached AirTag is detected, the user can use the Apple or Android device’s NFC technology to return the item.

If the user holds the smartphone close to the white side of the AirTag, it will send a notification to the phone about the AirTag. If the item is marked as lost, the user can easily view the contact details of the rightful owner. Apple suggests the user to deactivate the AirTag if it does not appear as lost.

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