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Apple Airtag: on the border of usefulness and harassment

Imagine never losing your car keys or your phone ever again. With Apple AirTags it is possible. However, no good thing comes without downsides. Find out more Apple AirTags and why they're so popular right now.

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Apple AirTags, since they hit the market, has been a sensation in multiple ways. And it is that the Apple AirTag first was created with an intention that is easily capable of solving the lives of thousands of people around the world who easily forget where they left their wallets, keys, or anything they bring with them.

Can you imagine being able to find any of your belongings with a single touch? Well, the Apple AirTag makes it possible in a unique way.

The Apple AirTag seems to be a helpless tool for everyone, although it hides some dangers that nobody had in mind before its launch. But before telling you about the possible risks, we will show you everything about the Apple AirTag.

What are Apple AirTags?

Palm of the hand of man holding an Apple AirTag

The first important question that we must answer is what is Apple AirTags?

The Apple Airtag is a tool designed by Apple to track anything attached. It could be a backpack, a wallet, your keys, your computer, or even your coffee cup if you wanted to have your coffee cup located. The Apple Airtag has promised to have everything located quickly.

How do Apple Airtags work?

Apple AirTag on a table

Apple Airtags work over a secure Bluetooth signal detected by nearby devices on the Find My app network. In turn, these devices send the location of your Apple AirTag to iCloud so you can see it on a map from the Find My app.

Apple AirTags use a network formed by the Apple devices active in the area where the Apple AirTag is activated.

If the Apple AirTag is near you, you can make it play a sound to locate it. When the Apple AirTag is far away, it uses the network created by the different active Apple devices in the area.

Thanks to this network formed by Apple devices, the owner can locate the Apple AirTag with great precision.

Apple AirTags use lost mode for a better location. As with your other Apple devices, you can put the Apple AirTag in Lost Mode. Then, when another Apple device on the network detects it, you’ll get an instant notification.

You can also configure it so that other people can get information on how to contact you when you touch your Apple AirTag with a smartphone with NFC technology, the same technology that allows you to pay with your phone.

Apple AirTag Privacy

Apple AirTag hanging from a car key

Apple ensures that the Apple AirTag does not store your location information or history, and only you can see where it is.

Devices that transmit the location of your Apple AirTag are kept anonymous, and location data remains encrypted throughout the process. Not even Apple will have access to the track of your Apple AirTag or identity the device to help you find it.

The Apple AirTag tries to discourage unwanted tracking. If someone else’s Apple AirTag happens to get among your things, your iPhone will detect that you have an Apple Airtag with you and show you an alert. If after a while you still haven’t found the Apple AirTag you’re carrying with you, the Apple AirTag will start playing a sound so you can locate it.

Apple AirTag used for stalking

Kid peeking through hole to represent stalking using Apple AirTags

Apple ensured that the Apple AirTag design kept in mind the idea of ​​preventing them from being used to harass someone.

Using an Apple AirTag for stalking is very easy in theory due to its features and how it works. Although Apple has assured that it has the necessary measures to prevent this from happening, there have been cases that prove otherwise.

Cases, where Apple AirTag used for stalking have been registered in different parts of the United States. We must consider that the United States is one of the countries with the largest number of active Apple devices, in this way the network created by the devices tracks the Apple AirTag very precisely.

Apple said some built-in features, like beeping automatically and notifying iPhones that an Apple AirTag is nearby, could help prevent abuse, but privacy experts and those who feared they had been stalked said the features were not enough because they do not easily help people who carry phones that use Google’s Android software.

One of the biggest user concerns has been how Android users might realize an Apple AirTag is tracking them and how they can fight it.

Android app to locate an Apple AirTag

Apple AIrTag attached to phone

Concerned about keeping Android users alerted that an Apple AirTag is tracking them, Apple developed an app so they can locate it without the iOs interface.

The app is called Tracker Detect, and it works very similarly to Apple’s Find section.

One of the main matters for Apple is that this app has been downloaded a few times concerning the number of Android users around the world.

There are an estimated 3 billion Android users, and Tracker Detect has only downloaded 100,000 times.

Harassment cases with Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag over a gray table

There are some specific cases where an Apple Airtag has been used to harass. Two, in particular, have been released above all.

Amber Norsworthy, who lives in Mississippi, United States, with her four children, told her story. She says it was 3 p.m. when she got home on December 27 and got a notification on her phone. “My phone made a sound that I had never heard before,” she says.

The notification told her that an unknown device had been tracking her movements.

She called the police, but they told her they didn’t know what to do.

Anna Mahaney is from Georgia. She was alerted to an unknown device after going to a shopping mall.

“I was pretty scared and tried to disable it. Every time I did, it said it couldn’t connect to the server.”

She went to an Apple Store, where they only suggested turning off her location settings.

Finally

Apple AirTag beside  keychains over wooden table

The Apple AirTag are tools that allow us to revolutionize how we locate our personal belongings. However, it hides some risks that do not have an inherent solution.

The possibility of a stranger tracking you with an Apple AirTag is within reach of reality.

Although, Apple has put its effort into solving this problem and has promised to make Apple AirTags more easily discoverable. There is still a percentage of the population that asks Apple to cancel the sale of Apple AirTags until they can guarantee the safety of users.

If you liked the article, share it and let us know what you think of the Apple AirTag.

Do you think they are a risk to people’s safety, or is it just a harmless gadget?

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- About Me

I am Giovani Rodriguez, a self-taught full-stack developer currently residing in Nuevo Leon, México. I started my journey as a freelancer in this field four years ago. All these years of hard work have rewarded me with quite an expertise in developing business applications and structuring business models that are efficient and applicable.

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