AirTags: How to know if you are being spied on and how to avoid being tracked

The AirTags were greeted with smiles. These devices came to make our day to day easier. However, some people have turned the product around and started using it for evil. Apple has had to reformulate its AirTags by adding different security measures to stop the escalation of harassment that has arisen after the launch of AirTags. Today we will tell you how you can know if you are being tracked with one of these devices and what plans Apple has to protect people from their AirTags.

What are Apple AirTags and why could they be used to spy on me?

AirTags: How to know if you are being spied
Surely you spend hours looking for your wallet, keys or some everyday object that usually disappears around the house. Well, the AirTag is an intelligent device capable of finding our objects quickly in a more elegant and effective way than tying a knot in poor San Cucufato.

AirTags are quite small, about the size of a coin. They can be inserted into any pocket or mounted on an accessory to use it as a kind of key ring. For location , they do not use GPS technology, since it would have a huge impact on their autonomy. To do their job, these small accessories make use of ultra-broadband technology , known by the acronym UWB. But, where the magic of AirTags really lies is precisely when it comes to making the location itself. The Apple U1 chip that they mount inside communicates in an encrypted way with any iOS device that enters its proximity radius. For example, if you lose a backpack in a bus station, everyone who has an iPhone on (and Find My activated) will be silently detecting your AirTag and you will be receiving the position on your mobile. In the same way, your mobile will also be collecting encrypted information that can be very useful to other people around you who have lost sight of their belongings.

Seen this way, AirTags are great. However, all disruptive technology also has its downside. In this case, AirTags can also be a double-edged sword. Some criminals have seen in these small Apple devices a new opportunity to commit crimes. Hence, the Cupertino company has become serious to see that one of its flagship products from last year is being used maliciously .

How can they hurt me with an AirTag?

airtag espia acoso

If criminals have something left over, it is imagination. Shortly after these products were launched, a girl from Maryland discovered that someone had put one of these pagers in her car while she was having a drink at a bar.

Shortly after, the Ontario Regional Police discovered that a mob of professional robbers were using AirTags to locate and steal luxury cars . However, it is estimated that it is not the only case of car theft that has been done in the world using these Apple smart tags.

How Apple protects your privacy with AirTags

Apple has not stood still, and from the beginning, Tim Cook wanted to do everything necessary to prevent their product from being used for illegal purposes . However, the AirTags already came standard with a series of quite important security measures to avoid tracking people.

People Tracking Blocking

One of the biggest concerns surrounding AirTags is that they can be used to track people. In the case of the Maryland girl, Jeana, her own cell phone alerted her that she was being tracked by an AirTag. That’s how she found out she was being tracked.

This is related to a security measure implemented in the Find My software itself. Her iPhone detected that there was an AirTag that was moving at the same pace as her, but it was not associated with her Apple ID. Earlier in 2022, another Mississippi girl was also notified by her iPhone while she was playing with her children in the park. Someone had placed one of these tags on him without his realizing it. Luckily, the security system worked, but surely the story would not be the same if the victim had a mobile phone from another manufacturer. In this aspect, the measure should also cover Android users to be fully effective, although we will talk about that later.

sound warnings

Apple will have to review its product in order to release a second version, we have no doubt about that. Meanwhile, one of the measures that they have thought of to alleviate this situation is sound warnings , which appeared in one of the iOS 15.4 betas. Basically, the iPhone will not only show a popup warning that we are being tracked, but will also make a sound so that we realize it as soon as possible .

Correction of false positives

Another way to protect the user is not to overwhelm them with unnecessary alerts. In this case, in the same version of iOS, a bug that could trigger alerts when detecting AirPods as an ‘ unknown accessory ‘ has been fixed. This way, if someone receives one of these notices, you can be sure that the notice poses a real threat to your privacy and security.

Inability to turn off security notifications

Starting with iOS 15.4, you also won’t be able to turn off Find My safety notifications . Why? Well, because if someone places a tracker on another person and also has access to the victim’s iPhone, they could do the perfect crime.

Precision search

airtag oculto precision

It is not yet available, but it will be a function that will arrive throughout 2022. It will be a new package of anti-harassment measures that will allow you to find an AirTag accurately. This will serve to locate one of these devices that we know we have nearby, but that we cannot find the key to its location. Very useful if they have placed one in our car and we are not able to find it.

Are these security measures enough?

Nobody doubts that Apple wants to solve all the problems that AirTags have been able to cause. But the solution to defend against this technology should not be to buy Apple products to fight on your side.

Apple cares about privacy, yes. But, with the AirTags, he has only shown to be able to care about the privacy of his clients who are being attacked by other of his clients. What if an AirTag is used against a person who doesn’t have an iPhone? Or what if you have it, but it doesn’t work with the latest version of iOS? Considering that tracking other people is an illegal activity in practically every country in the world, Apple should further intensify these measures to protect not only its customers, but anyone who may be harmed by AirTags.