After several rumors and leaks, Apple finally has its Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device AirTag earlier this year. While the device, which uses Apple’s Find My network to track luggage, pets, and other personal items, is a useful product, since its release it has become a useful tool for thieves to steal high-value cars.
For those who don’t know, AirTags use Bluetooth and Apple’s Find My network to keep track of an item the tracker is paired with. So, by taking advantage of this feature, thieves are now Placing AirTag devices in discrete locations of high-end cars that are parked in shopping malls, parking lots and other places.
They use their iPhones to track the cars to know the address of the owners, then steal them from the owners’ homes. This has become a serious problem in many regions.
Earlier this month, the York Police Department released an official statement: press statement, highlighting the problem. In the statement, the police also put in place some security measures for car owners to prevent their cars with AirTags from being stolen.
York Police say car owners should park their vehicles in locked garages, as in most cases thieves steal cars from the driveway. They can too use steering wheel lock to avoid thieves from driving or installing security cameras to constantly monitor the area where their car is parked.
In addition, the statement suggests that owners occasionally inspect their cars and report to the police if they find any suspicious device tucked away in their car. While these measures can prevent thieves from stealing the cars, owners can also place their own AirTags in their cars for one-time tracking or if they are stolen.
Apple is also taking some steps to minimize AirTags’ privacy concerns as people also use the devices to stalk other people. The Cupertino giant recently released an android app to detect unknown AirTags. However, it does not automatically detect an AirTag device and users have to dig into the app to start the detection process. iPhones are also programmed to issue notifications if it detects an unknown AirTag device nearby. However, the function will not work if the Bluetooth of the device is turned off. In addition, users do not always check their notifications while driving. Therefore, they can often go unnoticed. You can see how it works in the video below:
So, if you’re concerned about your car being stolen with an Apple AirTag, you should take the above prevention steps to protect your car from thieves. And if you find an unknown AirTag device in your car, take it out and turn off the device right away.