Apple’s AirTags used to track two women in western New York

Apple AirTags are meant to be an easy way to keep track of your stuff: your keys, backpack, pets, etc., but police in West Seneca, New York are reported two instances of Apple’s AirTags potentially being used to follow two women.

Apple's AirTag
Apple’s AirTag

AirTag is a supereasy way to keep track of your stuff. Attach one to your keys, slip another in your backpack. And just like that, they’re on your radar in the Find My app, where you can also track down your Apple devices and keep up with friends and family.

Danielle Church for WGRZ:

“A female came in and she got this message notification on her phone that there was an Apple AirTag or device moving with her, so she came to the station,” West Seneca Lieutenant Jonathan Luterek said.

Luterek says officers found an AirTag under the bumper of the woman’s vehicle.

And just this week, a different woman got the same message on her phone. “Officers checked over her car pretty thoroughly and weren’t able to locate it. It disconnected shortly after, so at this point it’s really unknown if it was on the vehicle, or if her phone got alerted about something nearby,” Luterek said.

In New York State, it is illegal to put a tracker or GPS on someone’s car. That’s because of Jackie’s Law passed in 2014. “She was a West Seneca resident who was a victim of domestic violence, so prior to that there was no charge that we could charge someone with,” Luterek said.

Now because they can, West Seneca Police have subpoenaed records from Apple to help them find out who was trying to track the woman last month. If found, that person could face a misdemeanor.

MacDailyNews Take: So, Apple’s AirTags and Find My system are working perfectly. People with whom unknown AirTags are traveling are notified. Excellent. You won’t get that from any other tracker.

With any other tracker, you would be tracked for as long as the tracker remains functional without notification.

Apple AirTags are the most anti-stalking, pro-privacy, and safest trackers on the market.

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. This helps prevent you from being tracked from place to place. When the Find My network is used to locate an offline device, AirTag, or other Find My network accessory, everyone’s information is protected with end-to-end encryption. No one, including Apple, knows the location or identity of any of the participating users or devices who help locate a missing Find My network accessory.

AirTag and the Find My network have also been designed to discourage unwanted tracking. To discourage tracking without your knowledge, Find My will notify you if an unknown AirTag or other Find My network accessory is seen moving with you over time. An AirTag that isn’t with the person who registered it for an extended period of time will also play a sound when moved so you can find it, even if you don’t use an iOS device. If you detect an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory, use the steps below to learn about it and how to disable it.

If you find an AirTag or a lost item with an AirTag attached:

  1. Hold the top of your iPhone or NFC-capable pretend iPhone near the white side of the AirTag until a notification appears.
  2. Tap the notification. This opens a website that provides information about the AirTag, including its serial number.
  3. If the owner marked it as lost, you might see a message with information about how to contact the owner. You can view a Lost Mode message on an iPhone or NFC-capable pretend iPhone. You can then contact the owner to let them know that you found their AirTag.

If you see an “Item Detected Near You” message:

If you see this message on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later, an AirTag or Find My network 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. It’s possible that the AirTag or Find My network accessory might be attached to an item you’re borrowing. Follow these steps to turn off these notifications or disable the AirTag or Find My network accessory:

  1. Tap the message.

  2. Tap Continue. If you need help finding the AirTag or Find My network accessory, tap Play Sound.*

  3. 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.
    • If you’re 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.

  4. 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 feel 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 can’t play a sound, the AirTag might not be with you anymore. If it was with you overnight, its identifier might have changed. Find My uses the identifier to determine that it’s the same AirTag moving with you. If you believe the AirTag is still with you, look through your belongings to try to find it, or wait to see if another alert appears as you move from location to location during the day. If the AirTag is within range of the person who registered it, you also won’t be able to play a sound.

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2 Comments

  1. Ehm, wouldn’t it pose a serious problem if you don’t have a smartphone, either not with you or not al all? Or does the tag not work without a nearby iPhone?

    I can see (all) tags posing potential problems. As would glass devices.

    Not sure myself where exactly it would lie, but I can imagine a line where potent technology just encroaches too far upon us humans, never mind if it was Apple’s or not..

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