The Apple AirTag is a small tracking device with an extremely long life and precise locating ability under certain circumstances. Unlike GPS trackers, which require cellular service and may drain a battery quickly, an AirTag relies on the distributed Find My network of iPhones, iPads, and Macs that hundreds of millions carry. It uses Bluetooth LE to signal that hardware. While there are many legitimate ways to use AirTags, it can be abused when someone tracks you without your knowledge. For example, AirTags could be placed in hidden areas of cars parked in public, then tracked back to where you live or work. In another example, someone might use an AirTag to stalk another person by placing one on their body or car without their knowledge.

How does this work? AirTags transmit their location via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) when they are within 50 feet of a device with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Someone who is traveling in a car and passing within 50 feet of someone with one of these devices could reveal your whereabouts.

Apple has taken steps to protect users’ AirTags from being used by others. If an iPhone, iPad, or AirTag is moving with you and the owner who paired the AirTag with their iPhone or iPad isn’t nearby, you can receive varying alerts and information. Apple offers tools on its devices that allow users to locate and disable AirTags and an Android app that will scan for nearby AirTags.

To know whether you are being tracked by an AirTag, install the Find My app. You will see an alert if you are being tracked by an AirTag that is not associated with your iCloud account.

Android owners can also find AirTags with the Tracker Detect app, which is inferior to Apple’s Find My app. The app needs to be run manually as it does not automatically detect AirTags moving with you.

If you feel that you are in danger, contact the police for assistance. You may be asked to provide your AirTag, AirPods, Find My network accessory, and the device’s serial number.

To disable an AirTag, flip it over to make the Apple logo visible. Press down on the logo and turn counterclockwise. Now you can remove the cover and pop out the battery. The serial number will be printed on the device beneath the battery.