Apple’s AirTags are electronic tracking devices that you can use to tackle and track things like luggage, wallets, keys, and other easily misplaced items. Small and easy to use, they go virtually undetected until a nearby Apple device alerts you to their presence. Therefore, these devices are likely to be used for stalking, stealth tracking and other nefarious purposes.
And although Apple has security measures in place, you need peace of mind; It is always good to know if you are the target of such tracking and what to do if you are. Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to detect and disable Apple AirTag on iOS.
Search listed devices found on “Find My” alert
If an AirTag that doesn’t belong to you, or is separated from its owner, starts following you, the Find My app will send you a time-sensitive alert that says “AirTag was found moving with you.”
If you are not in the habit of checking these alerts, open Find My app, click on Items, scroll down and click on Items Detected with You to see a list of all such past alerts.
If you don’t have an Apple device but suspect Airtags tracking, you can use Apple’s Tracker Detect Android app that protects you from AirTag stalkers.
Use the “Play Sound” Feature to Detect Airtags
How do you find a rogue AirTag? After all, they can be anywhere nearby—criminals are even using them to steal cars. But do you know how people used to call a lost phone so that it can be tracked using its ringtone? You can use a similar method with Airtags.
Sometimes, you won’t be able to play the sound due to a change in the Bluetooth identifier of the sound or when the owner is around.
conduct manual search
If you cannot locate the airtag electronically, perform a manual search of the surrounding area. Click on Airtag Alerts and open the tracking map. A series of red dots connected by a dotted red line indicates all previous locations that these airtags were detected with you. Thoroughly find objects near the last location on the map in Alerts.
For example, if you’ve just got into your car but AirTag was detected before, you know it’s not hidden inside your vehicle. Use a process of elimination to track it down.
If you find AirTag, you can proceed to the steps on how to deactivate it. If not, you can seek help from law enforcement to report the suspicious stalking.
1. Pair with AirTag
Once you locate the rogue AirTag, use any device with Near Field Communication (NFC) to pair with the AirTag for more details. Hold the NFC device near the white part of the AirTag and wait for the notification.
2. Take Screenshot of Airtag Details
The notification will contain important information such as the serial number of the airtag as well as the last four digits of the phone number registered with it. Take a screenshot of these details for future use.
If the owner has marked it as lost, there may be more details on how and where you can return them. If not, and you suspect you are being tracked, follow the instructions to disable the link.
3. Physically Disable Apple AirTag
You need to know how to physically prevent AirTag from tracking you. Don’t worry, it’s an easy process.
Push down on the back of the AirTag and turn it counterclockwise, then remove the cover to take the battery in. Now remove the battery to make sure Airtags stops sending your location data to the tracker. You can also share this tool with law enforcement to assist with their potential investigation.
be alert and safe
Apple’s ecosystem is well equipped to handle any unwanted usage Apple Airtags may be placed. In addition to the built-in guard against unwanted or stealth tracking and additional anti-stalking measures for AirTag in iOS updates, it is also illegal to use AirTag to track people. Apple makes it clear that it will comply with any law enforcement data request to support such an investigation.
The only way to be sure that your location tracking is 100 percent off is to remove the battery of any suspicious airtags. Although they are excellent tools for keeping track of your things, Apple Airtags are prone to misuse and abuse by ill-intentioned people and can serve as perfect accessories for stalkers if you are not careful. Huh.