How to Protect Yourself Against AirTags Used for Stalking
Apple’s AirTag is a great tool to help locate missing items that have the tag attached. Using Bluetooth technology, you can easily track the location of your keys, your bag, and even your dog. This is exactly what it was designed to do – help people find their misplaced or missing things.
But what if AirTags were used for another reason, something more ominous? An unscrupulous person could easily drop one in your purse or bag while you weren’t looking. They could even attach it to your car, and you’ve now become the thing being tracked.
In this article, we’ll explore the steps you can take to ensure that you aren’t being stalked by an unknown AirTag within your possession. We’ll also cover what you should do if you find an AirTag that someone has been using to follow your movements.
How to Protect Yourself Against AirTags for Stalking
No one wants their privacy invaded. Although the AirTag was created to help people, it can also be used to stalk people. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from AirTags being used to stalk you. To learn more, take a look at the suggestions below:
Search Your Belongings
Although not completely effective, if you suspect someone you’ve been in contact with may be trying to track you with an AirTag, thoroughly search your belongings. Check your pockets, purse, bag, backpack, or any possible hiding place for an AirTag.
If they’ve been in or near your vehicle, check to ensure they didn’t leave one behind. Thoroughly check the glove compartment, carefully look under the seats, and even deep within the seats. There are many places in a car where an AirTag could go unnoticed.
Purchase a Bluetooth Tracker
If you suspect someone may want to track your movements, a surefire way to be able to check is by investing in a Bluetooth tracker. For an AirTag to track anything, it uses a Bluetooth signal to connect to Apple’s Find My network. By purchasing a Bluetooth tracker, you can scan the area around you to see if there’s an AirTag nearby. Listed below are some of the trackers available:
Please note that just because there’s an AirTag in your vicinity doesn’t mean you’re being tracked. It could be attached to a legitimately lost item. But if you feel that someone may be monitoring your movements, this is a good first step to see if there are any AirTags near you.
If one is close, you can do a further inspection of your belongings and vehicle. Of course, if you find one on your person, that’s a different story.
For iPhone users who have smartphones running iOS 14.5 or higher, it’s easier to know if you are near an AirTag. You’ll receive a push notification if an AirTag that isn’t registered to your phone is nearby and away from its owner. If you receive an alert, you’ll have the option of having the AirTag play a tone. This will help you to locate it.
Unfortunately, there is no automatic feature to alert Android users of an unknown AirTag in their vicinity.
What to Do if You Do Find an AirTag
There are a few things that you should do if you find an unknown AirTag in your belongings or your vehicle. We’ll cover them in the order of priority.
Locate the Serial Number for the AirTag
If you choose to go to law enforcement, the serial number of the AirTag is a valuable piece of information you’ll want to have. To locate the serial number with an iPhone:
- Open the “Find My” app and place the AirTag next to it.
- Find the AirTag’s name and tap on it.
- You will see the serial number just below the AirTag’s name.
If you have an Android phone:
- Place the AirTag next to it.
- Tap the notification bar that should pop up on your phone.
- The serial number will be just below the AirTag’s name.
You can also remove the battery to locate the serial number. It’ll be located below the space where the battery was.
Disable the Device
You can stop an AirTag from tracking your location by disabling it. You’ll need to twist the device counter-clockwise and remove the battery. This will disable the device, and the person who is tracking you will no longer know your location. Be aware that they will know that you’ve disabled the device.
Go to Law Enforcement
If you’ve found an unknown AirTag in your possession and feel you are being stalked, notify the police. You can supply them with the device’s serial number to further aid in discovering who the owner is. AirTag stalking is illegal.
It should be noted that if you know who your stalker is, they could be angered when they see that you’ve disabled their AirTag. If they have access to you, you’ll need to protect yourself. The decision to disable an AirTag and/or go to the police is different for everyone. Only you can decide what’s best for your situation.
Are there other ways a person can stalk me without using an AirTag?
Unfortunately, yes. Several apps can give a person your location by tracking your cellphone in today’s world. If someone can gain access to your physical phone without you knowing, they could install tracking software.
Many different apps can track your cellphone’s location even without access to your phone. All that’s needed is your phone number.
Is Apple doing anything to protect me from unwanted AirTag tracking?
Apple is aware of the issue and is working with law enforcement to help them track down the owners of AirTags used for stalking purposes. They are also updating AirTag’s software to quickly alert others when an unknown AirTag is within their vicinity. You can read Apple’s statement on what they are doing to end unwanted tracking here.
End Unwanted AirTag Stalking
AirTags were designed to assist people with locating missing or misplaced items, such as backpacks and car keys. But some have used them for a darker purpose. Finding the device and then disabling it is the first step towards protecting yourself against AirTags used for stalking. Locating the serial number is also essential if you file a complaint with law enforcement.
Has someone tried to stalk you using an AirTag? Did you follow the guidelines in this article? Please let us know in the comments section below.