How to know if you are being tracked by an AirTag

Apple has said that it is trying to make the trackers safer to use. 12 News tested some AirTags to see how well they could track a person’s movements.

PHOENIX: Apple introduced AirTag as a new, and supposedly more accurate, way to track the things you lose every day. The little devices can be used to track wallets, keys, and even your children.

But AirTags are also being used for more nefarious purposes.

People have reported receiving notifications that an AirTag had been following them for hours… AirTags they don’t own.

“I see similar physical trackers being used every day,” Eva Galperin with Electronic Freedom Frontier said. Galperin was one of the first privacy advocates to raise a red flag over the misuse of AirTags.

Apple’s AirTags work by creating a sort of mesh network out of iPhones already out in the world. The more phones you can use AirTag to pinpoint your location, the more accurate your location will be.

“I was getting reports from domestic violence shelters about survivors finding AirTags in their things or on their person almost immediately,” he said.

And Apple seems to have listened to Galperin and other privacy advocates. The company has been adding features designed to make AirTags easier to find.

Apple said it increased the frequency of the sound the AirTags make, as well as making it easier for police to find who owns them.

Apple also said it shortened the time it takes for an iPhone to alert you that an unknown AirTag is traveling with them. It should take only a few hours before an iPhone notifies its owner of an unknown AirTag,

In our own test, we gave two 12 News employees AirTags to see how accurate they were and whether they were notified of the AirTag’s presence.

In the first test, the AirTag was accurate enough to take us directly to the exact parking spot the car was in. It also allowed us to follow the car around town with regular checks.

The second test was much less accurate. The AirTag led us to an empty street parking spot when in fact the car was about 100 meters away.

In both cases, none of the employees heard the noise from the AirTags. And only one employee received a notification that an unknown AirTag was with them, and that was after almost a full day of work.

Apple said it is continually working on its products and is warning people to make sure their phone software is updated to the latest version. That version has the most up-to-date protections that Apple has installed.

But those warnings only work on iPhones. If you have an Android phone, your phone will never automatically detect an AirTag. It takes a specialized app that you need to manually download and search for one if you think you are being tracked.

RELATED: Apple Says It’s Taking Steps to Address Unwanted AirTag Tracking

RELATED: Alleged Stalker Arrested in Arizona After Attaching Device to Victim’s Car

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