You may have heard news reports about people finding AirTags attached to their cars or other property that did not belong to them. You definitely do not want to be followed or tracked without you knowing! Luckily, you have nothing to fear!
As you know, AirTags are small devices that you can add and manag in the Find My app. AirTags use Bluetooth to connect to iOS and macOS devices. They display their location on a map in the Find My app.
The whole point of AirTags is to help people keep track of their own devices and property. People are even affixing them to pet collars. (You don’t want to lose Fido or Tiger!) However, some people are reportedly using the devices for nefarious means. You certainly don’t want another person tracking you via this technology.
Luckily, Apple recently published a Personal Safety User Guide to help put your mind at ease.
Personal Safety Guide Advice About AirTags
The guide explains:
“Both AirTag and the Find My network are designed with privacy at their core. AirTag and Find My network accessories have unique Bluetooth identifiers that change frequently to discourage unwanted tracking.”
“Find My notifies you if an unknown AirTag or other Find My accessory is seen moving with you over time by sending you the message, “Item Detected Near You.” (This feature is available on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 14.5 or iPadOS 14.5 or later.)”
“If you see this message on your device, an AirTag or other Find My accessory that has been separated from the person who registered it is traveling with you, and the owner might be able to see its location.”
While it can be surprising or frightening to find you’re carrying an AirTag that does not belong to you, it’s possible that the AirTag might be attached to an item you are borrowing.
How to Disable an AirTag
These are Apple’s instructions to turn off these notifications or disable the AirTag or Find My network accessory:
- Tap the message.
- Tap Continue. Need help finding the AirTag or Find My network accessory? Tap Play Sound.
- If the AirTag or Find My network accessory is attached to an item you’re borrowing, you can tap Pause Safety Alerts to turn off “Items Detected” notifications for one day.
- Are you borrowing an AirTag from a member of your Family Sharing group? You can turn off Safety Alerts for one day or indefinitely.
- You can tap Learn About This AirTag to see its serial number if the owner marked it as lost.
- To disable the AirTag or Find My network accessory and stop sharing your location, tap Instructions to Disable and follow the onscreen steps. If you believe your safety is at risk, contact your local law enforcement who can work with Apple. You might need to provide the AirTag, Find My network accessory or the device’s serial number.
If you do find an AirTag on an item that may be lost, you can follow these instructions to identify if the item was reported lost.
In their guide, Apple even provides instructions to the “unenlightened” who are using Android devices and wish to check if there is an AirTag near them. You can read all about it via Apple’s support page.
Hopefully, this information will put your mind at ease. Feel free to share this information with anyone who might be concerned about these news reports. Rest assured that Apple has a long history of focusing on safety and security.
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