Police Documents Show Apple Unwittingly Created a New Problem for the Modern World

AirTag notification on the iPhone 6 photos
Photo: Apple
Apple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTag
Apple’s AirTag is, at least in theory, a super-helpful piece of technology simply because it helps us keep track of belongings, including wallets and car keys.
Make no mistake, Apple hasn’t reinvented the wheel here. But while GPS trackers have been around for a very long time, what Apple managed to do was pack everything into a tiny form factory and boost its capabilities with new-gen features that wouldn’t be possible without the large network of iPhones out there.

Unfortunately, the AirTag ended up becoming one of the criminals’ favorite gadgets. In the last few months, the number of cases involving Apple’s GPS tracking for something else than keeping track of someone’s personal belongings skyrocketed, with claims of stalking and theft attempts based on location information provided by the AirTag.

And unfortunately, official police data confirms the AirTag is indeed used for such nefarious purposes.

A request for data from Motherboard reveals that out of 150 police incident reports, no less than one-third is related to stalking. Robbery and theft-related cases involving the AirTag are also worryingly popular, and more often than not, the GPS tracker is planted in cars to keep an eye on the location of the target.

Apple has already announced a series of updates supposed to make it harder for the AirTag to be used for stalking, but it’s pretty clear criminals out there are finding new ways to get around these new protections.

In the meantime, detecting an AirTag that’s moving with you when an Android smartphone is being used is much harder. Apple has already released a dedicated app for the whole thing; as compared to the iPhone, where everything takes place natively and automatically, Android users must manually scan for nearby AirTags every time.

It’s believed the next Android version launching later this year could come with GPS tracking built-in, but until now, installing Apple’s dedicated app from the Google Play Store remains the only way to stay safe in a world where the AirTag has become stalkers’ favorite weapon.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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