Opinion: What to do if an AirTag is following you

Now that I’ve seen those alerts firsthand, I can see how the information might be a little overwhelming to someone who doesn’t understand what’s happening. — Photo by Đức Trịnh on Unsplash

This week my wife got a pop-up message on her iPhone that someone else’s AirTag was following her.

That someone else’s AirTag was mine.

The warning was by design – Apple’s AirTags are designed to help you find your stuff if you lose it, but Apple also built in some safeguards to try to prevent AirTags from being used for unwanted tracking.

I’ve been using AirTags since they were introduced in 2021. I have one on my keychain and one in my wallet.

What I don’t understand is why my wife started getting the “someone’s AirTag is following you” message after all this time.

I thought she wasn’t getting the message because we are part of an Apple Family Sharing group. Now I’m not so sure.

When my wife showed me the alert on her phone, she asked me what to do.

I had not seen those alerts before, so I had to investigate before I could tell her what to do.

When you get the alert, you can click through to see what time the AirTag was noticed, and you’ll see a map showing where you went that day with the AirTag.

You can even tap a button to make the unknown AirTag make a sound so you can find it if it is hidden.

If it really has been put there by someone unknown to you, Apple gives you instructions on how to disable the AirTag by rotating the two halves of the AirTag shell and taking out the battery.

According to Apple, “if you're borrowing an AirTag or another item compatible with the Find My network from a member of your Family Sharing group, you can turn off alerts for that item for one day, or indefinitely.”

When I tried to turn off alerts for my two AirTags, all I could see was the option to disable alerts for one day. There was no option to turn it off indefinitely.

My wife and I are definitely in the same Family Sharing group. Perhaps you only get the indefinite option if you hide alerts more than once.

Now that I’ve seen those alerts firsthand, I can see how the information might be a little overwhelming to someone who doesn’t understand what’s happening.

If you do find an unknown AirTag tracking you, you should turn it over to the police.

Apple says “If an AirTag, set of AirPods, or Find My network accessory is discovered to be unlawfully tracking a person, law enforcement can request any available information from Apple to support their investigation.”

If you’d like to read Apple’s full page on AirTag safety and alerts, go to https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212227. – Tribune News Service

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