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The Apple AirTag is designed to help you track lost items like keys or a purse. However, many nefarious people have recently been using AirTags to stalk people and steal cars. It’s unfortunate, but luckily, there is a way to know if an Apple AirTag is tracking you.

How does the Apple AirTag work?

Apple AirTags next to a keychain.
Apple AirTags next to a keychain. | via Getty Images

An Apple AirTag constantly transmits a Bluetooth signal that nearby devices can detect via the Find My network. Hello Tech says, “The network is made up of hundreds of millions of Apple products, which can work together to pinpoint an AirTag in real-time.” Think of it like satellites pinpointing a location on a navigation system, but on the ground.

Every AirTag can only be paired to one Apple ID, which means that if the AirTag doesn’t belong to you, it won’t show up on the Find My app. This is why stalkers and car thieves can track people and their cars using these quarter-sized devices.

How will you know if an Apple AirTag is tracking you?

A man scans an Apple Airtag next to an Apple store.
A man scans an Apple Airtag next to an Apple store. | via Getty Images

If someone happens to put an Apple AirTag in your car or on your person, your iPhone will let you know. A push notification will alert you that an “AirTag is found moving with you.”
When you tap the notification, a map will appear, and you can see when the AirTag was first detected traveling with you.

You can even make the AirTag beep by pressing “play sound” on the notification. If you don’t have a smartphone, you’ll only be able to track the tag by the beeping sound that it emits after it has been separated from its owner for a while.

How to track an Apple AirTag with an Android phone

If you have an Android phone, Apple suggests downloading the “Tracker Detect” from the Google Play store. When using the app, you can scan for AirTags or see the serial number and the last four digits of the owner’s phone number.

What to do if you find an AirTag tracking you

If you locate an Apple AirTag in your car or on your person, you can find the owner’s information by tapping on the notification on your phone and going to the listed website. Afterward, Apple advises that you call your local law enforcement and give them the device’s serial number. You can also file a complaint with the Internet and Technology Bureau.

You can also disable an AirTag

A pack of four Apple AirTags.
A pack of four Apple AirTags. | via Getty Images

After finding an Apple AirTag, you can disable it so that it stops tracking your location. Remove the battery by pressing down on the tag and twisting it counterclockwise to disable it. You can then remove the battery, and the owner won’t see it.

All AirTags have a serial number, so it should be easy for law enforcement to track down the owner once they have the information. Unfortunately, many thieves use AirTags to steal cars and track people, but luckily, they can be thwarted easily.