Apple AirTags are Being Used to Track People and Steal Cars

10

From The New York Times:

On a Sunday night in September, Ashley Estrada was at a friend’s home in Los Angeles when she received a strange notification on her iPhone: “AirTag Detected Near You.”

An AirTag is a 1.26-inch disc with location-tracking capabilities that Apple started selling earlier this year as a way “to keep track of your stuff.” Ms. Estrada, 24, didn’t own one, nor did the friends she was with. The notification on her phone said the AirTag had first been spotted with her four hours earlier. A map of the AirTag’s history showed the zigzag path Ms. Estrada had driven across the city while running errands.

“I felt so violated,” she said. “I just felt like, who’s tracking me? What was their intent with me? It was scary.”

Ms. Estrada is not alone in her experience. In recent months, people have posted on TikTok, Reddit and Twitter about finding AirTags on their cars and in their belongings. There is growing concern that the devices may be abetting a new form of stalking, which privacy groups predicted could happen when Apple introduced the devices in April.

Fantastic. Just fantastic.

Comments (10)

10 responses to “Apple AirTags are Being Used to Track People and Steal Cars”

  1. wunderbar

    I mean, yes? The one thing I'll say is that in a way it is good that the possibility of this is being brought to the forefront. The same possibility exists of both Tile trackers and the Samsung Smarttags.

    • wright_is

      At least the iPhones warn you, and they have an app for Android as well, if you are being tracked.


      Also, because they are locked to a valid iCloud account (including the iPhone used for tracking them), it is harder to do it anonymously. If someone finds the tags, it is possible for the police to trace them back to the owner.


      I've never used any of these tags, so I don't know how other systems work.


      But there are other, anonymous, systems out there that do the same sort of thing, which are much harder to trace.


      If I was going to track and steal something, I wouldn't want to do it using something that makes its presence known and is registered to me... Sounds like a dumb criminal moment... It would only work reliably, if the person being tracked was using an Android device and hadn't installed the Apple app.

  2. pecosbob04

    Agreed it is fantastic that the individual allegedly being stalked was informed of the possibility via her technology!

  3. Chris_Kez

    Good that Apple is providing some way for people to know about this. Unfortunately, for not much more money a nefarious person could buy a small, no-name, cellular-enabled GPS tracker and stick it in your car or bag and there is no way you would ever know. The problem here, as usual, is the behavior of terrible people.

    • christianwilson

      It is sad to say, and I hate sounding negative, but my feeling about much of our modern world is that we have amazing technologies but are not mature enough as a species to handle it. We ruin everything.

  4. Brett Barbier

    Do the AirTag competitors have this sort of notification app as well? I don't think there's a requirement for tracking devices to notify people like Apple is doing.


    I recall a friend of mine being tracked years ago by an ex, who hid a cheap pre-paid Android phone under her vehicle in some sort of magnetic enclosure, along with a portable battery pack. Scary stuff.


    Kudos to Apple for the notifications, but anyone who wants to stalk someone badly enough can easily do so with all sorts of gadgets.

  5. jason_e

    I wonder why Paul did not issue the same Fantastic, Just Fantastic statement about Tile, Samsung or any of the other cheap trackers. At least Apple is giving people a heads up. This is only getting attention because its Apple. People are reporting on this and then making Apple out to be the bad guy. Sorry folks, but people have been able to track others far longer than AirTags have been available.

    • Jeffsters

      Andy number of GPS trackers available, a disposable Android phone stuck to a car, or a Tile between the seats, has never been news worthy. It’s Apple so suddenly it is and only because Apple, unlike the others, warns you. Makes you wonder how many of these other devices have been used while the victims have been completely oblivious.

  6. fp0n

    Airtags don't track people, people track people!

  7. pecosbob04

    How does one go about using AirTags to steal a car? Asking for a friend.

Leave a Reply