Let’s get straight to the point; you have landed here because you have seen a notification on your iPhone that an “AirTag Detected Near You.”
What does the “AirTag Detected Near You” alert mean?
The alert “AirTag Detected Near You” means that your iOS device continually monitors an AirTag that does not belong to you but is located nearby and moving with you.
Apple uses this alert to inform its customers about the risk of AirTag monitoring.
If you get this alert, you may use your iPhone’s Find My app to pinpoint the exact location of any nearby unknown AirTags.
If you are concerned that this AirTag is being used to monitor you without your knowledge or agreement, Apple will provide instructions on deactivating it.
If you suspect that someone is tracking you using the AirTag and you feel in danger, you should call the authorities so that they may get further information about the AirTag’s owner from Apple.
An iPhone detects an AirTag through Bluetooth signals emitted by the AirTag and picked up by the iPhone.
Unlike other tracking devices, the AirTag doesn’t have any GPS.
How does AirTag location tracking work?
AirTag emits Low BLE signals. These signals are picked up by random Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, or iPods with screens and the internet.
These devices then convert the signals into location data and update Apple’s cloud servers with the location. AirTag owners can then see the location on their phones.
For your information, Apple designed AirTags to help their customers track their stolen goods, not stalk random people on the streets.
Apple has designed security features to protect users from stalking by AirTags. When an AirTag is moving with you for a long time, your iPhone will detect the signal from the AirTag and upload your location to Apple’s servers.
This will trigger a notification/alert on your iPhone, alerting you that an AirTag is moving with you.
What to do if you receive the “AirTag Detected Near You” alert?
If you receive the “AirTag Detected Near You” alert, don’t panic and stay calm!
This notification can also be triggered in other cases, such as if you are borrowing something from a friend that has an AirTag attached.
1. The Good Case
Think hard if you have borrowed something recently from your friend or family that is currently with you.
It can be a car, a bike, a backpack, or maybe a pair of shoes. Or you might be pet-sitting someone’s dog?
If yes, call that person and ask if they have put an AirTag into the belongings you are currently borrowing, and if their answer is Yes! Voila, you have solved the mystery.
2. The Bad Case
The first thing you need to do now is to find that AirTag.
- Tap the notification you have received on your iPhone.
- Tap “Continue.”
- Tap “Play Sound” to locate the AirTag. (That will ring the AirTag loudly, and you can play it again if you don’t find it in the first time.)
If you find the AirTag, you can check if it’s marked as lost and return it to its owner.
For your own safety, I would suggest returning the AirTag to its owner in a public place; don’t carry it directly to their home.
In case it is not marked as lost, you can tap the “Learn about this AirTag” option and then follow the on-screen instructions to learn about the owner of that AirTag.
If you suspect someone may have planted that AirTag on you, stay in a public place and remove AirTag’s battery by following these instructions:
- Press the stainless-steel lid on the back of the AirTag and rotate it in the anti-clockwise direction.
- Remove the battery.
- Put the lid back, press it, and rotate clockwise to close it again.
That will turn off the tracking immediately, and the owner will not be able to see your current location at all.
Lastly, call the authorities as soon as possible!
Stalking Support Resources
Here are some resources on how to get help if you are being stalked:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)
You can also get help online at the following websites:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org
- RAINN: https://www.rainn.org
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: https://www.missingkids.org
It is important to remember that you are not alone. There are people who can help you if you are being stalked. Please reach out for help if you need it.
This is a great video that provides step-by-step instructions on what to do after receiving the notification.
What to do if the AirTag is not playing a sound
If you are tapping on the “Play Sound” button after tapping on the notification alert, and you do not hear any sound, there is a chance the owner of the AirTag is using a modified version known as “Stealth Mode AirTag.”
They were designed with good intentions to be put in a car or a bicycle, so if it gets stolen, the owner can track it using the AirTag, and the burglar will have a hard time finding it without any sound.
They open up the AirTag internal hardware and remove the speaker. This is easy to do, and now they are also getting sold on Etsy.
If you think someone has planted a Stealth Mode AirTag on you, immediately contact the police.
Stay in a safe place because it doesn’t matter if the AirTag is not playing a sound. It is still working, and the owner is still getting updates on your location.
How to receive AirTag tracking notifications on Android
Apple has made an app for Android devices to detect unknown AirTags, known as “Tracker Detect.”
It is the most useless app ever designed/built by Apple because it will never send you AirTag tracking notifications!
Unlike iPhone’s “Find My app,” which runs in the background and automatically detects unknown AirTags, Android’s “Tracker Detect” doesn’t work in the background.
You will have to manually open the app and scan for trackers, which destroys the whole purpose of the app.
If someone has planted an AirTag on you and you don’t scan for trackers until later, the stalker may already have enough data on your locations.
Here is a great video by MrWhoseTheBoss that explains the cons of the whole case and the cons of the Android app in great detail.
In my opinion, Apple is not interested in doing this for Android devices! With the amount of money they have, it shouldn’t be that difficult to build a better to counter the issue, but they are just ignorant and don’t care about my fellow Android users.
Apple’s AirTags have been used to monitor individuals in many documented cases. Survivors of intimate partner violence have reportedly been targeted by stalkers using AirTags.
In most cases, the victims were females, and they called the police after they received notifications suggesting someone was tracking them with an AirTag they didn’t own.
Half of those women suspected the tags were planted in their car by a man they knew, such as a current or former romantic partner or their boss.
In this article by USA Today, two women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the tech giant’s AirTags are “unsafe” products that stalkers can use.
In another case, a woman found an AirTag attached to her car and suspected someone put it there to try to steal the vehicle.
Apple has been actively working with law enforcement on all AirTag-related requests they’ve received.
If you suspect someone may be tracking your movements using an AirTag after receiving unwanted tracking alerts, contact law enforcement to get more information on the AirTag’s owner from Apple.
After discussing the potential threats of AirTags, it’s worth noting that even governmental bodies are taking this issue seriously.
The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, has issued a consumer alert warning New Yorkers about the malicious use of Apple AirTags and offering safety recommendations.
Last Thoughts on AirTag Detected Near You Alert
To conclude, the “AirTag Detected Near You” message is a crucial tool for user safety since it warns people of being tracked using Apple’s AirTags without their knowledge.
Apple has provided customers with resources to address safety issues even though AirTags were developed originally for tracking lost or stolen belongings.
In order to strike a balance between the benefits of technology and the need to preserve users’ privacy, it is important to remain cool in such situations and to take the precautions outlined in this guide.
This guide demonstrates the changing situation in which tech companies are more concerned about user safety and actively promote consumers’ awareness and vigilance.