AirTags are useful when it comes to keeping track of lost accessories. But the Bluetooth trackers are also highly capable of tracking people. Trust me, I’ve tried and it worked.
To prevent unwanted tracking, Apple allows users to disable AirTags on the spot. This can be done in a few simple steps.
First things first: Upgrade to iOS 14.5 now
Whenever an unknown AirTag is traveling with you, a pop-up notification will appear on your iPhone that reads: “AirTag Found Moving With You.”
In order to receive those safety notifications, you first have to be running iOS 14.5. The new software update is crucial to accessing all the AirTags’ safety features. So please, don’t procrastinate on updating to the latest software.
If you’re unsure as to whether your device is compatible with the new update, here’s a list of which Apple products support iOS 14:
iPhone 6S and newer
iPhone SE (1st and 2nd generation)
iPod Touch (7th generation)
11-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation)
12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation)
iPad (5th, 6th, and 7th generation)
iPad mini (4th and 5th generation)
iPad Air (2nd and 3rd generation)
To update, go to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and tap Download.
What to do when you receive a safety alert on your iPhone:
When your iPhone detects an AirTag is moving with you, you’ll receive a notification. If you can’t manage to find the unwanted AirTag, you can use the Find My app to trigger a loud sound to help you.
You’ll receive this pop-up notification if there’s an unknown AirTag traveling with you. Credit: screenshot / apple You can play a sound, pause the alerts, or remove the battery. Credit: screenshot / apple
If you borrowed someone’s bag or keys with an AirTag attached, and have an iPhone running iOS 14.5, then you can choose to either pause the safety alerts for a day or turn the feature off completely.
But if you have absolutely no idea where the AirTag came from, you’ll want to fully disable it by removing the battery cover. You can do this by twisting counter clockwise on the back of the tracker (where the Apple logo is) and then manually taking the battery out.
When you find an unknown AirTag on you but you’re an Android user:
When AirTags first launched, Android users had no official means of detecting whether an unknown AirTag was moving with them. That left them with only one option: Waiting three days for the unknown AirTag to emit an audible alert and then disabling it by removing the battery.
But Apple recently released an app on the Google Play store to address this issue. With Tracker Detect, Android users can scan for nearby AirTags and other tracking devices within Apple’s Find My network. If an unknown AirTag is found, users have the ability to make it play a sound, learn more information about it, or access instructions on how to remove its battery.
It’s worth noting that users must manually scan for an unknown AirTag, as opposed to the app automatically running a scan in the background. Many reviews on the Google Play store have cited this as an ongoing issue. It’s unclear whether Apple plans to update the app.
Apple’s Android solution doesn’t automatically scan for unknown devices. Credit: apple The app instructs users to contact law enforcement if they feel unsafe. Credit: apple
When you find an accessory with an AirTag attached:
Since AirTags have NFC built in, you can tap on them using either an iPhone or Android phone (with NFC) to trigger some options. This is handy if you want to return the lost item to which the AirTag is attached.
When an owner can’t find their AirTag, they can enable Lost Mode. Credit: screenshot / apple When you find a lost AirTag, you’ll see a phone number to contact and a message. Credit: screenshot / apple
If the owner of the AirTag attached to that accessory has marked it as lost, then tapping on the AirTag with your phone will take you to a web page with their phone number and a message.
And remember, if you ever feel unsafe in the presence of an unknown AirTag, there’s really only one thing to do: Remove the battery.
Related Video: Unboxing Apple’s new AirTags
UPDATE: Dec. 20, 2021, 3:22 p.m. EST This article has been updated with information regarding Apple’s Tracker Detect app for Android users.