iPhone users, Beware of Silent AirTag; How it works and How to be safe
In a shocking development, it was revealed that Apple AirTag tracking devices are being sold with a terrifying modification that can harm iPhone users.
Apple AirTag is a great utility tool that can help users find important things that they keep missing. The device can be very useful for tracking lost keys, wallets, the latest iPhone 13, which you may have lost, or any other older iPhone iterations you may have, or even your pet. Yes, Apple AirTag can track animals and humans too! Unfortunately. In a shocking development, it has been revealed that there is a dark side to such an innovative device. AirTags have been in the news recently due to concerns about their use by stalkers. Yes, AIrTags are also being misused as stalking devices. All a person needs to do is clip the AirTag under the victim's car or inside their bag or pocket and then track their location. The fact that it is so simple to do is a very scary thing. And if AirTags themselves weren't bad enough, there's now a scarier modified version of the device available on third-party marketplaces like eBay and Etsy: Silent AirTag.
To be fair, Apple has added several features to ensure that no one is tracked without their express knowledge. The first of them was a beep produced by these devices after being away from the owner in a period of between 8-24 hours. And the timing is completely random, so the stalker can't take any preventative action. Other than that, Apple also released a Tracker Detect app for Android users to track if there is an AirTag near them. And iPhone users get a notification whenever an unknown AirTag is near them. So while Apple has taken steps to discourage stalkers and abusers, this new third-party modification of AirTag is highly problematic.
Silent AirTag: How it works
Online platforms like Etsy and eBay have recently seen the listing of a product called the Silent AirTag. The product description says that it "looks like a regular AirTag but has a hole under the battery side to detach the speaker." This is the same speaker that would beep to alert anyone around you that an AirTag was nearby. Now, with this hardware modification, AirTags can be used in stealth mode, allowing more power for stalkers and more worry for iPhone and Android users.
According to another listing on eBay, "this [is] so it doesn't keep ringing when it's away from you, for example if you leave it in a car or bike or with a family member. Reduces the chance of a thief being notified of your hidden location!" While the products have been removed from the platforms, they may reappear or find a separate platform all together to conduct business as usual. Don't worry though. There are still certain steps you can take to protect yourself against any incidents of harassment from these Silent AirTags.
How to protect yourself from silent AirTags
1. While it's as basic as it gets, find yourself manually every time you exit. Just a brief search of pockets, purses and bags and, if possible, under the car should do the trick.
2. If you are not an iPhone user and using an Android device, please install the Tracker Detect app to find out if you are being tracked
3. If you can find the AirTag and you have an iPhone, you can download the Find my app and bring the tracking device closer to find out the serial number. This is useful if you want to file a police report.
4. Or you can turn the white side of the AirTag counterclockwise to remove the battery and disable it to prevent the stalker from knowing your location