Apple has created its $ 29 quarterly Bluetooth device to help people track their keys and other items, but it is also used to track people — sometimes without permission.
Responding to AirTag’s unwanted tracking, Apple has developed a system to notify iPhone users if they are being tracked by someone else’s AirTag. Your iPhone detects whether an anonymous AirTag is traveling with you, and, if so, the alert provides a simultaneous route map. After that, you can activate the wrong AirTag internal alarm to identify it aloud.
These notices can be helpful and can even prevent a dangerous situation. But in recent weeks, some iPhone users have begun to receive warnings, usually at midnight, of AirTags that may not be at all on their way. Pop-up notifications have caused confusion and anxiety, and have led recipients to chase geese.
AirTag phantom warning maps share the same pattern: straight red lines exiting the user area. If AirTag was moving (maybe a plane?) On these routes, it would be crossing the city center, passing through construction sites, and even the entrance walls.
When maps of these specific notices are viewed from side to side — or compared to the obvious examples of AirTag tracking — they appear to be the result of a distraction. But it may be shocking to discover such an unspoken warning.
The extent of AirTag’s bad news is unclear, although accounts from Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and others have reported it.
A spokesman for Apple said the warnings could have been triggered by an iPhone receiving Wi-Fi signals in a remote area. Possible settings may go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services, and switch on and off while Wi-Fi is turned on on the iPhone. He also said that in densely populated areas, AirTags owned by others nearby could create unwanted warnings.
Ryan McClain, a 25-year-old advertiser in Indianapolis, received a security alert on his iPhone when he woke up one day in early April.
“It was shocking in the morning,” he said. “I thought, ‘Who would want to trap me? Who would want to hurt me?'” He searched outside the AirTag, had a mechanic’s check under his car and asked his neighbors if they had any. They did not.
Mr. McClain said he and his fiancée spent the next day busy, hoping the warning was a result of mistake.
Marcus Geisler faced a similar warning. “The AirTag movement pattern on the map looks very strange,” said a 45-year-old Toronto consumer researcher. “I thought maybe my neighbor’s dog had swallowed it by mistake,” Mr Geisler said. He looked everywhere but could not find the AirTag.
“It was shocking,” said Natalia Garcia, a 24-year-old non-profit worker who received an iPhone warning after a night out in downtown Chicago. “I checked my wallet, looked around to make sure no one was installing AirTag on me,” he said.
When trying to get the tracker to release its alarm sound, the Find My app said “AirTag Not Reachable.”
Lost and recovered
Apple launched AirTags in April 2021. Devices relied on nearby Apple products to transfer their locations to the company’s Find My Network. If you are attaching AirTag to your keys, you can check out the Apple Find My app to track. If you have an iPhone 11 or the latest model, you can point the location of your AirTag down an inch.
But because they are cheap and easy to use, AirTags have become a secret tracking tool for others. Police departments across the country have said they have received reports of alleged AirTag cover-up. In some cases, people find AirTags that are not owned by their vehicles or in their pockets.
In February, Apple published an AirTags safety guide and said it was working in many ways to protect people from unwanted AirTag tracking. AirTag discovery is automatically unlocked in Apple’s Find My app. And last week, Apple began updating AirTag software to make device speakers emit an audible sound when they were lost or an anonymous AirTag warning.
While phantom tracker warnings can be a nuisance, you should not completely disable AirTag detection.
“Getting fake alarms technically is a common occurrence,” said John DeCarlo, director of the Master of Criminal Justice program at the University of New Haven and former Branford police chief Conn, Conn. “If you turn off notifications, it will leave you with no benefits.”