The Apple AirTag is a wireless device that can be attached to property such as keys or a backpack to help keep track of and locate lost items. The device utilizes Bluetooth to detect and share its location, allowing a user to track their property. While the technology is useful, in recent months police departments across the country have received reports of possible unwanted tracking using the devices.
To address concerns of unwanted tracking, Apple has updated the AirTag’s safety features, adding an alert that lets someone know if an AirTag not associated with their Apple ID has been near them for a prolonged period of time. The warning, which only appears if the AirTag is away from its owner, allows someone who is being unwillingly tracked to disable the AirTag or to sound a tone to help locate it (though some aftermarket AirTags have been modified to not emit a sound).
Apple has also launched an app for Android users called Tracker Detect, extending the same safety features to non-Apple devices.
How can you keep yourself safe?
- If you’re an Android user, download the Tracker Detect app.
- Be mindful and aware. If you find an AirTag that doesn’t belong to you, follow these instructions from Apple to check the “About this AirTag” information. At a minimum, this will provide a serial number and possibly the owner’s contact information. Call UTPD (or your local police department) for assistance in contacting the owner. Once the information has been documented, you can disable the AirTag by following these instructions to remove the battery.
- If you receive a warning message on your phone, follow the steps in the message to locate the device. If you’re unable to find the device, it’s likely your phone is picking up an AirTag signal from someone near you.
The UT Health San Antonio Police Department is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Never hesitate to contact the department by dialing 210-567-2800 or 911 for emergencies. UT Health San Antonio Police can also be contacted through the UT Health SAfe mobile safety app, available for free download for Apple and Android users.