By - Supkients
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Answer: It's a mixture of a few things. One of which is that Apple is a bigger company that Tile so when things like this happen, like you said, it's a bit more newsworthy. The same way a Nissan Leaf having problems won't attract as much attention as a Tesla.
However, the bigger issue is that Apple built-in privacy technology to help you find out if someone is using an AirTag to track you. The way it works is that if an AirTag that isn't yours has been moving with you for a certain amount of time you will get an alert on your iPhone that [looks like this.](https://tidbits.com/uploads/2021/06/AirTag-detected.jpg) So basically if someone puts an AirTag in your coat (which is what happened to the SI model) after a while you get an alert on your phone warning you that an unknown AirTag has been travelling with you and it gives you the ability to play a sound in order to locate it.
In other words, if someone had used a Tile to do the same function you probably would never know. The fact that an AirTag lets you know what's happening means that people find out about it more and therefore it gets reported more.
**TL;DR**: The fact that you get warned if you're being tracked by an AirTag means that there will be more instances of people finding out versus other tracking technology.
**EDIT**: Ok, wrote that before I went to bed and woke up to an exploding inbox. To answer the most faqs:
- You can get an Andriod app from Apple called ["Tracker Detect"](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.trackerdetect&hl=en&gl=NL) if you're worried and don't have an iOS device.
- Yes, it will (eventually) alert thieves if they've stolen your stuff. It's not an "anti-theft device" more of a "where the hell did I leave my wallet?" device. Having said that, you will have a significant time frame to track stolen property.
- AirTags work on the "Find My" network meaning that if you own an iOS device you're automatically opting into helping AirTags which is why they're so much more effective. It has end-to-end encryption and techniques to anonymize your data but you don't like this you can [opt out](https://www.howtogeek.com/725664/how-to-opt-out-of-apples-find-my-network-on-iphone-ipad-and-mac/).
- "ApPle aRe eVil Big bRother iS cOmiNg!!" Instead of writing me, please address all concerns to Tim Cook. I didn't invent the things, just explained them.
They actually beep intermittently on their own when they’re away from the connected phone now. I have one on my dog, and when I left her with my dad when I went out of town he told me it was occasionally beeping. He figured the battery was dying, but I could tell on my phone it had plenty juice left, so I looked it up and it’s the newest anti-stalking feature.
Is it a feature that can't be changed or a setting that comes with it enabled but can be turned off? I could imagine a regular person having reasons for one not wanting to be beeping intermittently.
Can’t be turned off because it was part of the anti-stalking features. Otherwise the stalkers would just turn it off. Reports are that it is annoying to some users.
I put one in my car because its a model that is easy to steal, 2003 civic. So this kind of defeats that purpose entirely. Time to get a tile.
It doesn't "defeat the purpose entirely" because the purpose of these is not a theft tracking device. You should look into LoJack (or similar products) if that's what you need.
That aside, you can look up tutorials on youtube to find a very simple hack that disables the speaker on them. So in theory if you really wanted to use it for that and didn't want to use a proper vehicle theft tracking device it is technically an option.
Haven't noticed it with mine, does it turn on if you're away for a period of time maybe?
Well if it’s connected to your phone, you wouldn’t notice it because your phone has to be away from it for some period of time.
I wanted to put one on my cat but then I realized that it'll beep when I'm not home and that will probably startle my cat.
I have one on my cat, and I didn't know about this feature. Now I'm realizing that it's probably startling members of my cat's other families when he is chilling in their houses.
Not to mention, Apple has sold more units than Tile in a much shorter period of time. It's more popular, more people will know about it, casual creeps will use it easier, etc.
And all the publicity will definitely give some assholes bad ideas.
It’s a two edged sword sadly
A great man once simply called that… a sword
Edit: guys it’s a norm Macdonald joke lol
Rip norm. Most people didn't get his humor lol
Why wouldn't you want a double edged sword? It's twice the sword?!
I dunno, maybe ask a samurai
Or a pit fighter
Don't you know that when you raise a sword against an enemy, one edge faces your opponent, the other edge faces you... And then of course the point of the sword points to God. And...I guess the hilt points to your sausage?
Do you see now?
>make them less desirable ...
Yes, That is the entire point ...
price: they are pretty cheap, doesn't cost much more than the chloroform needed for the next step
That's only true if you have an apple device to warn you or know enough to use the android app. Good reason to buy into apple if you're someone who might be worried about such things. Amazing how that works out.
Not hating on Apple, just funny to see a company create a problem only to have the solution be their product. May not have been the intent, but it certainly worked out like that.
>funny to see a company create a problem
TIL Apple created stalking
The warn you on android device as well. At least newer ones, seen it in action
Assholes don't need help getting bad ideas, good people need to know those ideas are possible and how to protect themselves from it.
The shadows are the criminals hiding grounds: a lack of knowledge has rarely been an impetus to crime, simply the death knell for those acted against.
There is no secret network of stalkers, it's largely just a bunch of moronic individuals who get their information like everyone else. The fact that this sort of reporting brings the possibility of modern trackers to their attention is bound to "inspire" some of them.
Also these systems (i.e. AirTags, Tile, etc) work by communicating with other devices on the same platform and use those connections to work out things like GPS. Since there are so many more Apple devices (iPhones, Macs, iPads, Apple Watches, etc) in the world, their FindMy network just works much better than the competition. So although things like Tile technically did the same thing, on Apple's network the whole thing is even more effective/efficient at being a tracker.
this is the actual answer and not so much the top reply. A tile is not going to enable me to track it just from bluetooth, but apple uses their phones and other devices to create a much much larger net to find the tracker. As a result the airtag can be used to track a person or anything else as long as there are other apple products around. In the US the iphone saturation is huge.
edit, I misunderstood tile, it also uses a similar network, but again the saturation of apple products is much much greater than that of tiles.
Tile also just expanded to allowing them to be tracked by a ton of other devices using the amazon sidewalk network.
oh shit. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. Off the top of my head I am not a fan of how Amazon implemented their sidewalk netwalk - iirc they just forced everyone using certain amazon devices to support it - so therefore I think I'm not in favor of this usage although I consider myself a techie and am far from a luddite. Guess I better do some research. thanks again. Edit, seems to use echo devices, which may mean if I lose my keys anywhere but in or near someone's house I'm out of luck. I've misplaced my keys in a field when they fell out of my pocket so no help there, and one time I thought I left them in a parking lot so no help there. Also, I am more and more against these giant tech companies and how they're run. And Bezos owns The Washington Post and they seem to not be able to afford to hire proofreaders so that's also irritating.
It uses a pretty insignificant amount of bandwidth and I know you can disable it altogether for sure and possibly just for devices that aren't your own.
I dont think I would use the term casual creep when describing someone who places tracking device on you...
My point is the ease of escalation for people who were potentially more casual creeps to begin with. A determined bad actor will be researching techniques, an erstwhile casual one might escalate if the tools are thrust in front of them.
I think they mean casual as in "not a professional" or exceptionally determined (such as a private detective). You can get radio-beacon tracking devices and hardware that are smaller than an airtag, and GPS tracking devices which are larger than an airtag but have cellular service built in. That's what a professional would use.
Now an ethical private investigator wouldn't just follow someone because you find them attractive, but they might track them if you have some pre-existing relationship and have a legitimate reason (like you believe your spouse is cheating and are looking for proof).
Air tags are also significantly more reliable, aren't they? Because they actively ping off any nearby iOS device, whereas most other tracking tags require people to actively install an app on their phone to do the same thing. Really wish I could get 9ne for my dog, but you have to have an iOS device to activate/use it.
Which means your own phone is sending your location to the stranger who put the tag on you
If you have an iphone, at least it will warn you that you have somebody else’s airtag with you. However, if you have an android phone, while it will be less accurate, it can track you without you noticing, as long as someone with an iPhone passes nearby
Apple has an app for Android now as well. It still requires you to install an app and run it so it will naturally reduce the number of people that can monitor, but if you are paranoid about this sort of thing, you can still protect yourself.
The android app doesn't run in the background. It's next to useless. The user would have to run the app every time they get in their car, return home etc.
Which is equally what lets your phone work out that something is amiss. Double edged sword.
Well, it requires ios device nearby to work which works in cities, but outside them definitely not as well.
Sure, if your closest neighbor is half a mile away, but even if you live in a small neighborhood, the likely hood of there being mostly iOS devices is fairly high. Even in my rural town, I'd be shocked if an airtag wasn't still the best bet, aside from something you have to pay for an LTE plan for
It gets even weirder - if an ex is staking a girl, her friends iPhones can help send her location to him every time they come near.
There is another element to this, which is Apple has something called the Find My network. Which is essentially a giant network of all iOS devices (every iOS device that is capable of contributing is opted in by default, it can be opted out of but most people are unaware or not bothered by it) that it can use to locate Find My devices. This network uses iOS devices to locate the item it is looking for.
Tile does have a similar network called Tile network, but only people who have the Tile app installed contribute to it. The install base of iOS means that Airtag tracking is far more acccurate and reliable than something like Tile. This would still be possible through Tile if there is a large install base in the area though.
I’ve never had an issue with tile and I’ve been using tile for maybe 5 years now? 2 or 3 battery replacements. Ditto my partner. I’ve even left my keys in a car share that was used by someone else and I tracked them down no problem.
I live in what I call the smallest of cities and biggest of towns- Vancouver BC (population of metro Vancouver is 2.5 million). DAE who lives in the city not see the point of switching from tile to AirTags?
I think the biggest difference is that AirTags have a notification if it’s following someone.
That's a small city? I guess it's not a big city, but it's well beyond what I would call a town.
I’ve only had issues with my tile but I also live somewhere with a bunch of old people so I feel like there’s not a big tile network. AirTag has been so accurate and helpful so far. I love that it tells me I forgot my keys
Ahh makes sense. I’m not willing to pay for tile premiums for that feature. Would be nifty to have if that was a big issue for me.
I used to forget my keys or lose them all the time but since I got my tiles I never need to use them. I know the minute I take it off my keys though I’m going to lose them. Murphy’s law 😂
I’m sure if I still lived in a major city I would’ve never switched to an AirTag but the battery on my tile was dying anyways. But yeah it never actually could locate my keys when I needed to, it always said it wasn’t connected?? And I always accidentally pressed on it making it find my iPhone lmao. That’s one feature that the AirTag doesn’t have (pressing it) but I think you can do that in app
If it’s not working for you then upgrade, eh?! I’m glad the AirTag is better for you and serving it’s actual purpose. Idk if it’s cause my tile is so old but I went from changing its battery once every two years or more to like once a year with a low battery notification. After 6 months. Maybe I’ll be on your team soon enough, after all.
Honestly you should wait and see how long the AirTag battery lasts. I’m also not sure how you go about replacing it
Good call!!! I have the whole apple ecosystem so I’m a bit *too* ready to jump on the bandwagon with the right justification.
So this means that if someone steals my car they will get notified on their iPhone that it's being tracked?
If you’re using an AirTag to help find your parked car and somebody steals it from the lot then yes the thief would get notified if it’s far away enough from your phone for long enough. By then you would’ve probably noticed it was stolen and reported the license plate to the police and they would be looking for it and you don’t have to worry about it at that point because confronting a car thief yourself is pretty dumb and risky
> However, the bigger issue is that Apple built-in privacy technology to help you find out if someone is using an AirTag to track you. The way it works is that if an AirTag that isn't yours has been moving with you for a certain amount of time you will get an alert on your iPhone that looks like this. So basically if someone puts an AirTag in your coat (which is what happened to the SI model) after a while you get an alert on your phone warning you that an unknown AirTag has been travelling with you and it gives you the ability to play a sound in order to locate it.
Of course, that only works if you use an Apple product.
Though there is an App you can download for Android that lets you scan for nearby tags.
To clarify, the app is made by Apple and available [here](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.trackerdetect).
You must choose when to scan manually, there's no background processing to check for you.
Wow, that’s a good move by Apple. Seems like they’re doing the right thing so hopefully it doesn’t get twisted.
Note that it only protects people from tracking, *if they pay Apple*.
If you don't pay Apple for protection by buying an iPhone and carrying it with you, Apple instead uses everyone's iPhones to help anyone who wants to track you.
Apple have published a tracker detection app for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.trackerdetect&hl=en&gl=NL
Interesting not compatible with my fold 3
Which doesn't remotely compare to being notified without needing to actively make the decision to scan for trackers.
You're right it's a half assed solution to deal with an issue that should have been addressed years ago by android manufactures like samsung and google.
Could you explain what they should have done? What should android manufacturers be doing to detect Apple Air Tags "years ago" well before those tags existed?
1. It's compatible with only the latest devices.
2. It doesn't actually work for the things people want. Now, regardless of whether that's due to Apple or Android's own limitations, it is the case.
3. It's something you would only know to look for if you had _happened_ to hear about the problem. If you're not tapped into Apple's product network, that's unlikely.
You care about your data being collected but you're using an OS made by Google?
Even though Apple isn’t perfect, you’ve picked the worser of the two for privacy. Google’s main priority is collecting your data.
I’m confused. Are you mad the product exists? Because it kinda sounds like you’re mad it exists
So what you're upset about is a product (the android app) being made that isn't useful for you? People who are worried about being tracked who don't have an iPhone will be pleased to know they don't have to be kept in the dark.
You’re already having Google, Facebook, etc… track you, Apple’s probably nothing compared to those.
Kind of a silly argument. So if they can’t protect everyone they should protect no one?
If they can't protect everyone from the negative consequences of the product they're selling, they should be held accountable for those consequences.
It's not like AirTags spontanously appear out of thin air.
The problematic part is the centralised control of a huge tracking network
That’s some hyperbolic nonsense. They made a product, saw how it might cause harm and took steps to mitigate where they could.
That’s like getting mad at Ford for only putting airbags in their own cars. “What about the other people that might get hit by that car! How will they protect them!”
By the way, Apple did provide an app for Android to detect AirTags too, so there’s that.
Interesting analogy like when Volvo gave away the patent for the seatbelt design to make everyone safer.
This is an example of Apple's walled garden actively being bad for safety, they could have made the protocol open and public, so we didn't need a special app, Android could implement it at the core and other tags could join in. But that would stifle competition.
>That’s like getting mad at Ford for only putting airbags in their own cars. “What about the other people that might get hit by that car! How will they protect them!”
You say that as if it's not what happens. The Euro Ncap car safety rating rates car on 4 categories.
1) How well their protect adults inside the car
2) How well they protect children inside the car.
3) How well they protect people hit by the car.
4) Ancillary features like Lane Support, seatbelt warnings and so on.
So, "What about the other people that this car may hit" is a question which is asked and answered.
Regulation sometimes mandates change to car design that serve little purpose for the occupant of the car, but ensure the safety of other road users. For example, from 2022 onward cars need to be fitted with extended head impact protection zones to mitigate injuries to the people the car has crashed into.
If you pay Apple, they're only protecting you from themselves. They won't protect you from non-Apple tracking devices.
Do you think the Mafia are good guys when they "protect" some businesses even though they can't protect everyone?
"That's some nice privacy you've got there. It would be a shame if someone were to use [a billion mobile devices](https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/27/22253162/iphone-users-total-number-billion-apple-tim-cook-q1-2021) to track you."
They should not have built a worldwide people tracking network if it's being used to stalk women and hurt people. Especially when they explicitly hurt people that use competitor products.
Because this definitely wasn’t possible before AirTags…
I heard that an Android app was in development that can do the same. Not native, but at least better than zilch.
It's already out
Is it going to be open source / available on F-droid, or would one have to give up some of their privacy in order to use it?
It's only available on the latest, highest-end devices, and only some of them at that. My S7 edge is incompatible, for example, but so is my brand-new S7+ Tab.
Well I mean it also beeps so that will warn you
You were one of those kids who complained that Nintendo didn't make Super Mario for the Sony PlayStation, weren't you?
Nah, I had a PC. And Nintendo never used NES as a tracking network.
No. Anyone with working ears is notified by the tag beeping. Admittedly, that’s not *everyone* but it’s close.
Hmm, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there, and I'm not sure which to believe. Do you think [Apple's own description](https://www.apple.com/airtag/) is inaccurate/incomplete/misleading?
> AirTag is designed to discourage unwanted tracking. If someone else’s AirTag finds its way into your stuff, your iPhone will notice it’s traveling with you and send you an alert. After a while, if you still haven’t found it, the AirTag will start playing a sound to let you know it’s there.
> Of course, if you happen to be with a friend who has an AirTag, or on a train with a whole bunch of people with AirTag, don’t worry. These alerts are triggered only when an AirTag is separated from its owner.
You seem to be implying it will start making a sound even when it isn't detected as traveling with someone else's iPhone. Have you tested that? Or are you relying on secondary sources of information?
No it will warn anyone, I use an android and I don't have any apps for the trackers but there was one in my car and it just randomly started making this chiming sound, I thought something was wrong with the car at first but then I found the tracker in the door
I think that was only random from your perspective. The chiming sound is something the owner of the AirTag can cause in order to look for it when it's nearby.
No it makes noise when it's been too far from its owner for too long or something like that, it's to prevent the tags from being used to track people without them knowing
No, it's an aspect of iOS and an Apple-made Android app which does that. Your phone gets a notification that an unknown AirTag has been following you. [It looks like this.](https://tidbits.com/uploads/2021/06/AirTag-detected.jpg)
If the airtags automatically went off when you weren't near them for a while, you'd never be able to find any of your stuff after a vacation because they'd run themselves out of battery warning your empty house that it was being stalked.
EDIT: You should probably just [read the Apple product page on it.](https://www.apple.com/airtag/)
I’m not sure what you mean, it literally says this on the page you linked:
AirTag is designed to discourage unwanted tracking. If someone else’s AirTag finds its way into your stuff, your iPhone will notice it’s traveling with you and send you an alert. **After a while, if you still haven’t found it, the AirTag will start playing a sound to let you know it’s there.**
You don't know what you're talking about
You should really let Apple know which parts of their product page are incorrect, then.
Nah I don't work for them but it seems like they're on top of it already
> When moved, any AirTag separated for a period of time from the person who registered it will make a sound to alert those nearby.
Please don't forget to mention that:
1. AirTags network is the biggest location tracking network on the world because Apple co-opts all modern iPhones to report location of tags to Apple.
2. The first fact makes tracking extremely accurate on never before seen scale. It's also very very easy.
3. Because of 1. and 2., there were multiple instances of people slipping airtags onto other peoples's cars (last I've was an abusive mother tracking where her adult daughter was at all times). If the person has an older iPhone or an Android phone they really have no way of knowing they're being accurately tracked.
Apple has released some app for Android, but it has to be manually installed and manually run. In reality, this means they created a massive worldwide tracking network that can be easily used to track non-iPhone users with a simple tag and no consequence.
It chirps eventually if it’s away from the owners device. To use it to track someone, you would have to put it somewhere it can’t be heard but can still get its Bluetooth/ultra wide band signal from nearby Apple devices.
> somewhere it can’t be heard but can still get its Bluetooth/ultra wide band signal from nearby Apple devices.
Somewhere like... the outside of a car? Maybe in a little baggy to shield from water.
Really not that hard.
Mhm, in some problematic cases they found it in cars wheel well / engine compartment.
The person was an iPhone owner and even they needed days to figure it out (and they've seen the warning message and dismissed it as random!).
Is there a way to find out if someone has used a Tile for the same purposes?
Tile is adding this functionality specifically because AirTags brought to light that this was already a problem with their devices that was being overlooked.
wait… doesn’t this defeat the purpose a little bit?
say i steal your backpack and you have an airtag in it. i think i’m home free but then i get a notification saying that i’m traveling with an air tag. now i play the sound, find it, and whip that fucker out of the car. now i have your bag while you have no way of tracking me.
??? how has nobody else brought this up?
The AirTags are not meant to track people, your stolen stuff or a lost pet. They’re meant to locate your keys inside your home or let you know where you forgot you backpack. By allowing the AirTags to silently track your things, they then allow you to silently track people. Apple has decided that preventing the tracking of people is more important than finding your stuff if it’s stolen.
this makes sense - thanks!
No, the purpose of AirTags is for lost items, not stolen items. People have used them to find stolen items before because not everyone is aware of what they are or how they work, but it’s mostly for items someone has a tendency of misplacing or dropping and not theft recovery.
It’s probably a miracle for a lot of ADHD people
Yeah but I keep forgetting to change out the battery
The alert doesn't happen right away, it triggers only after 24-48 hours. That gives enough time for the owner of a stolen item to find out it was stolen, and take the appropriate steps (ie talk to the police).
But just to be clear, AirTags are *not* marketed as a theft-tracker device. They are meant to help you locate items you have simply misplaced, exactly what Tiles were also meant for. The ability to track something that was stolen is a side benefit.
i just read that it can happen as soon as 8 hours, but even that doesn’t sound right because i’ve received a notification that i had a friend’s purse with me and it was only a few hours after not being together anymore
The time delay for the notification can be controlled on the server side. It’s possible that Apple has been adjusting it to see what works best. I thinks it’s dependent on how long the AirTag has been out of range from the phone it’s paired with. Maybe your friends purse AirTag didn’t check in with her phone in over 24 hours. Either way, I’d rather have it be report too often than not often enough.
These are not meant to be theft tracking devices. They are meant to help you find your keys if you've misplaced them or find your laptop if you can't remember where you left it.
I know it probably makes the tags more useful, but I can not believe that Apple or anyone else is acting like it's normal for *my phone* to report to Apple and a third party about my location when I'm near the third party's device.
Even if my phone wasn't sending location data, it's crazy that Apple would use *my* phone as relay device for *their* service. If they rely on a network of millions of mobile devices to make their service work, then they should be paying for those devices. They should not be using everyone's devices for free *while putting the owners of those devices at risk*.
[So disable it then](https://www.howtogeek.com/725664/how-to-opt-out-of-apples-find-my-network-on-iphone-ipad-and-mac/)?
The fact you do not own iphones that you purchased is a major source of criticism of Apple as a company. They insist on full control of their devices. Many people refuse to give them money for this reason alone. They have personally contributed a significant amount to the degradation of ownership in the modern world.
So opt out. Most people are fine with it because it makes sense to contribute to a service we all benefit from.
What do you see as the risk to devices being part of a peer to peer network sending anonymous encrypted data?
It's not anonymous if someone puts a tag on you. Also, it's the principal of the situation that Apple is profiting due to your participation in this system without compensating you.
Someone else tracking you with AirTags is a problem they have solved for both Apple and Android phones, you can opt out of the Find My network, and Apple's nebulous profits from that system are generally paid back to you by nebulous benefits like a stellar support lifetime on their hardware (or, you know, the ability to use the Find My network for your own devices).
Considering the amount of control over your phone you give up when going with an iPhone, I have trouble finding much fault with this part of the Apple ecosystem.
> is a problem they have solved for both Apple and Android phones
Now this is just plain false.
1. The Android app only works if you _actively_ scan - i.e. it only detects things if you take out your phone, press the button, and look at the results, and then _stops scanning._
2. The app also only works _if you have the app._ Android users aren't tapped into the Apple network and are thus unlikely to even realise this is an issue. They likely don't even know this product exists.
3. The app only works on the _very, very highest-end_ products, and even then only some of them. The large majority of Android phones are _not compatible with this app._
Your phone only does this if you opt in to the “Find My” system. In exchange, you can locate and track your iOS items, which is possible because of other people on the Find My network. It’s opt-in and you receive a very tangible benefit.
If someone puts an AirTag on you then it's not YOUR device. It's someone else's. They could have easily placed a dog collar GPS tracker in your car and used that to track you. At least with an AirTag it's built with functionality in mind to prevent this from happening.
As far as my phone being used to relay the location of other devices... I don't mind. I actually like this because I know that I'll be able to use it if/when the need arises (and it has). The fact that I could locate my MacBook Pro using a stranger's iPhone at an airport even if the MBP is not connected to wifi is nothing short of amazing.
>If someone puts an AirTag on you then it's not YOUR device. It's someone else's.
I'm not saying the airtag is YOUR device. I'm saying your own phone is your device that Apple is hijacking as an essential part of their service that they're profiting from. However, if you're trying to make the argument that the iphone the person paid for isn't their device... there's a lot of people who would agree with you.
> They could have easily placed a dog collar GPS tracker in your car and used that to track you.
That's not how the airtag works! A separate gps tracker needs the following:
* GPS antenna and chip
* Cell antenna, chip, and paid for cell account
* Power source for both of the above
An airtag doesn't need any of that. It uses the tracked victim's own cellphone for all of that. All it has is low power Bluetooth. Apple is completely dependent on users' devices for their service.
I misunderstood your comment so most of my reply is incorrect.
With that said, I dont feel like apple is hijacking my device to use it as a part of their service which they're benefiting from... because I feel like I'm personally benefiting from other people's devices being "hijacked" as well.
I'm able to track my devices if I lose them by using someone else's device.
Someone else is able to track their devices if they lose them by using my devices.
What's wrong with that? I don't feel cheated at all.
I don't have a source however I read that airtag can use any available internet connection for tracking, including Apple devices it is NOT paired with/authenticated with. Tile on the other hand would need an open wifi connection to report its location to the owner.
For clarity, I feel like it’s important to point out that neither the the AirTag nor Tile connect to wifi at all.
AirTags primarily use Ultra Wide Band to reach out to iOS devices whether they’re paired or not. iPads, iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches all create a peer-to-peer network, so that when an AirTag is marked as lost, any Apple device that connects to it will update its location on the Find My app.
Tile works the same way, except it primarily uses Bluetooth and only connects to devices with the Tile app. Any Tile can connect to any device running the Tile app in order to update its location, but only the owner of the lost item can see the information about the Tile or the item it’s connected to.
That is not correct at all, actually. They don’t use internet or wifi at all.
they both do that. The difference is tile can connect to tile tags, it is NOT paired with, only through users that also downloaded the tile app.
apple has a bigger user base, than tile. So its going to work in more places even small towns.
Yes, that is how airtags work. Pretty much any of the billion+ apple devices will work.
AirTag and tile are Bluetooth only. Even if a wifi connection is available, they can’t use it directly. So they can’t “use any available internet connection”.
Will it warn you if you have an Android phone and not an iPhone?
Interesting. Good to know that there’s an option for Android users too.
It has less functionality, at least (though unlikely to change, I'd assume) for now.
But it does not actively scan for devices, you have to open the app and run it.
It is but be aware that as if now, not all android phones are compatible with Apple's Tracker Detect app. For example, I have a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Google Play store won't let me install the app because it's "not compatible" with my device.
This does not surprise me though. I have no expectation for Apple to make apps for devices they don't make or sell. It's nice when they do,, but I understand Android is out of their wheelhouse.
What I'm actually disappointed about is that Samsung doesn't have a tracker detection app of it's own even though they have a competing tracking tag product and are very involved in making software for Android devices.
[Apple themselves have released a detector for Android.](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.trackerdetect&hl=en&gl=US)
It's not as good because you have to use it manually, but it does the job.
Having people manually install an app and manually run it constantly to see if anyone is tracking them really doesn't "do the job".
It does the job better than countless other trackers that have no option at all.
Fortunately Tile is adding anti-stalking features now. But not sure how you find out if you don't have the app, just like I won't get an airtag notification as an android user unless I dl an app I don't otherwise need. I'm guessing there will need to be a next gen solution to detect any tag.
Question: would this apply in case two people are in an Uber/airplane/submarine/mountain lift/park ride/whatever travelling in the same direction in close proximity?
Probably not because presumably the other person has the AirTag paired to their phone at which point it's deemed safe. If, however, the other person got off the train but left their wallet with an AirTag in it after a while you’d probably get a warning.
**Edit**: a word.
I got a notice similar to this recently but it was a false notification, larger cities could have people just going in the same direction
Joke’s on you: an FSB spy was tracking you. You’re just lucky you stayed away from upper story windows and tea stores.
Holy crap that creepy. That what kind of creep was doing this? Or was it all types of creeps?
Well, here's creeps stalking women: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10364499/amp/Women-TikTok-reveal-strangers-using-Apple-AirTags-track-them.html
These people are sick. That is awful.
If/When I start going out more I gotta find an Android way to look for all tracking tech (AirTags, Tiles, etc.). IRL I've never had a creep follow me more than a couple blocks but it *has* happened, and this would let a creep be 'lazy' and still track somebody.
And I'm lucky enough to only worry about creeps. My real fear is things like domestic violence and abusers trying to track family and whatnot.
Edit: looks like there is one, Tracker Detect app.
I dislike that I have to use Apple products to know if I'm being tracked by an Apple product.
You don’t, there’s an android app made by Apple that lets you scan for them.
So, how often do you scan for tracking devices?
I mean, how often do you search for tile tags or any of a multitude of others that have existed for years by hand (because that’s the only way)? At least there’s a provided method with the Apple tags. I’m not saying they’re perfect but they are better than the other options. People are acting like Apple came out of nowhere and invented creeps using trackers.
> Apple built-in privacy technology to help you find out if someone is using an AirTag to track you.
But only if you use an Apple device presumably? Nobody is notifying an Android user they are being tracked by an AirTag are they?
Edit: Downvote a question, cheers reddit.
Answer: Apples trackers are the first that have a way of notifying the person tracked. This is making a lot of people aware, for the first time, of a situation that has existed for a long time before.
The problem isn't new, the awareness is.
So if someone is tracking you with a Tile you’d have no way of knowing?
Yeah, but tiles are basically useless for anything outside your range because not many people use tiles. So you might get one location in a week or so if you're lucky.
Could you explain this more? How would the number of people using Tiles impact a person’s ability to track a Tile?
These trackers are designed to tell you where they are located but they don't have their own GPS or data connection. The way they work is by trying to communicate with other devices that use the same platform.
So if, for example, you lose your keys and they have a Tile attached to them that Tile will constantly try to communicate with other Tiles in the area. If someone happens to walk by (close enough for a bluetooth connection) and they also have a Tile tracker, the one on your keys will ping that person's Tile and tell it to use the person's phone to send GPS information about their current position to you.
The Apple AirTags work the same way. Except in Apple's case, the AirTag can talk to any Apple device. So the fact that there are so many people walking around with iPhones means that it's dead simple for a lost AirTag to constantly find devices to send it's location to you.
That also explains why no one uses them over here, because there's so few iphones around.
You forgot to tell me where "here" is.
You might not realize, but there are lots of places that aren’t America. That doesn’t narrow it down.
I think others need to have the tile app installed in order to relay the tiles position back to you (when your phone is out of range). I suspect the apple one only requires the iphone/os.
Oh that makes sense. Didn’t realize they worked that way
That is correct. At least, to my understanding.
Correct, but Tile isn’t what I’d be concerned about. There have been GPS trackers on Amazon for a long time; I just searched and they get as cheap as $13. If someone wanted to slap one on your car, they could have it there with 2-day shipping.
These more traditional models are usually cellular, so they require you to either provide a SIM card or pay a monthly subscription. But in exchange, you’ll probably get much more accurate location updates than an air tag.
GPS consumes a lot more power, so it's not very useful for long term secret tracking, unless you can secretly wire it to the car's battery.
The Air tag and similar systems utilize low power bluetooth, and delegate the energy expensive GPS/reporting operations to the phones of nearby people. This allows them to run for far longer periods on a tiny battery.
What's a Tile?
A tracker, typically used for car keys, wallet, purse, bag, etc.
If you have an Android and someone is tracking you with an airtag you would have no way of knowing. The speakers can be removed from the airtag.
Except that android has an app to avoid this exact scenario. Also, I suspect the next update for Android OS will ok integrate this. Too many upsides to not do it.
The android app relies on users manually scanning for Air Tags. It's not a full functional replacement.
The Tile isn't really made for that kind of tracking - I don't know if they are all the same, but the one we have on my cat's collar (after she pulled one too many disappearing acts) lets you set off a loud beeping alarm on the tracker to alert you to the location of your missing item (keys, wallet, frantically scrambling cat, etc.). It did not have GPS. If someone managed to drop a Tile on your person without you noticing, you would notice the alarm when they tried to find you. The only real use I can think of for tracking people is maybe sticking one on a small child in a crowd or something.
(Others have noted that it uses the Bluetooth location of other Tiles for tracking if your item gets out of range, but this isn't too efficient because not many people use them.)
It was great fun to explain the AirTag in our car to my wife when it sent her an alert, even though it always stays in the car and she never drives (I.e. the car won’t move if I’m not driving) - the AirTag is linked to my account so not sure she should even see an alert if I’m there too?
Also, many are just bandwagon clickbait, in a similar vein as Halloween razorblades.
Answer: People have already answered this, but there's three big elements:
1. AirTags are an Apple product, so there will always be more press coverage about these than about any other property tracker.
2. AirTags notify you if an AirTag that doesn't belong to you is 'following' you - making people hyperaware of the fact they could be tracked.
3. AirTags, unlike other property trackers, are essentially always connected to the internet due to the fact it runs on the Find My network (meaning that if the AirTag is close to *any* internet-connected Apple product, it uses that connection to update its location). This makes them a little more scary, as if you're being tracked, the tracking will always be fairly accurate.
Those are the three main reasons. The third is a very important one.
Does this mean people are being tracked using *Tile* and they don't know?
Tile doesn't nearly have as many users so you'll only get one location a week if you're lucky.
Either that or the other person has to have the tile app
This is the point that so many people are missing, the ubiquitous presence of Apple phones means that air tags are extremely accurate.
Since Tile doesn't use every single iPhone to track their tiles, using Tiles to track isn't very reliable or effective.
If you have an AirTag, every new iPhone nearby will report it's position so that makes tracking people super easy and super reliable - especially if the stalked person doesn't have an iPhone nearby to tell them.
3rd definitely [is](https://www.insider.com/woman-killed-gunshot-wounds-instagram-tracking-device-fort-worth-2021-11). This story doesn't call out what tracker was used, but still I've been seeing a couple of stories that ended like this or where women posting finding them on their person/in their car.
I am surprised more people make a big deal out of this itself and less about "find my network" in general. There are already known vulnerabilities with it so I can only imagine the zero days that will be coming out.
The end-to-end encryption system is both a benefit and a curse. It makes it so that malicious actors can send messages with the network without much oversight. So the current worst-case scenario is running peoples' data plans down. Of course, this isn't as bad as an unencrypted, centralized system, where the worst-case scenario is tracking everyone.
The claim is end to end encryption, but they've already had vulnerabilities with it. Especially uploading maliciously to devices using it. I can only imagine the zero days waiting to emerge from this stuff, we've seen it in a lot of iot in general.
Answer: airtags are new and make it much simpler and easier to track people/objects.
Airtags give off a signal which can be picked up by any passing Apple devices (which will receive that signal and pass the data on to Apple to update the tag owner). As there are billions of Apple devices out there, this gives Airtags very, very good coverage that previous passive trackers could only dream of.
There is not and has never been a comparable product on the market.
Previous trackers either relied on their signal being picked up by someone with a specific app installed (so much lower coverage) or using the mobile network (which required recharging or being wired to something like a car's electrical system).
One other reason for the reports besides the ubiquity of the Apple device network is that apparently if you have an Apple device yourself, it will warn you if an Airtag unregistered to you is following you abnormally. Basically, Apple warns you if someone is tracking you with an Airtag, so media reports are from people who found the device this way. I don’t think stalking was widely reported with Tile because they have not implemented this feature yet, as far as I know.
it would be reported more often if tile warned people. but still we would get a fraction of the stories.
Tile can ONLY WARN YOU.. if you had the tile app installed yourself(and that included that feature).
apple will warn you even if you dont know what an airtag is.
unless apple is forced to open up its devices for tile tracking with out need of the app, which i could see happening one day, tiles will always work worse.
tile has sold 35 million devices, and many people bought multiple.. apple has a billion devices out there. Its just not going to be close.
Answer: To follow what others have said.. You tend to find that Apple are very rarely first to the market with new tech, but when they release their version it usually has much superior performance compared to the existing competitors.
This has been their business model since day dot, someone else pioneers the tech, it doesn't hit the mainstream, Apple launches their version to their followers and boom.
So tags and property trackers have been on the market for a while, but not with the technology and capability that Apple has put into their Airtags. Samsung have shipped free Galaxy Tags with some of their newer & flagship phones in the last 12 months to try and drive up adoption but the technology was lacking. The tracking capability wasn't as accurate or relied on other newer Galaxy devices for longer distance tracking (there are nowhere near as many new Galaxy devices out there with the compatibility as there are iOS devices) and therefore weren't as effective.
Specifically the point about iOS notifying you if an unfamiliar Airtag is 'following' you is not something I'm aware other manufacturers have introduced making it easier for people to report this specific to Apple Airtags.
Question: can you find out who the air tag belongs to?
Possibly. If an airtag is marked as lost by the owner, and you scan it with your phone, it gives you a website where the owner can display their contact information. Although if you were using an airtag to stalk someone, you probably wouldn’t enable that functionality.
It might be possible to track down the owner via the airtag’s serial number, which is what law enforcement would probably do in a stalking case
This was my thought. If an AirTag’s location is viewable by the creep who is tracking it (thru the FindMy app), then it should be easy for Apple to find out who the stalker is, as the AirTag has to be linked to their iCloud account.
I guess it would be easy to set up a dummy iCloud account but that could probably still be tracked back to the stalker. Would be curious what more technologically savvy people have to say…
Answer: A guy in Michigan found an AirTag on his car, which is a model targeted often by car thieves in the area. He was certain they meant to steal his car and send to a chop shop.
His story made national news and got everyone talking about it. Soon you had local news doing investigative stories, and YouTube channels recreating the scenario.
Also sure, this could have been a thing for a long time and it just didn't make the news. But it is Apple, so there's already big interest on what goes on in the Apple world. And it raised awareness on something people may not have known about trackers like Airtags before. But ask it takes is a story going big and public like this to capture people's attention.
What makes one story go big, and another story get lost in the ether? Hard to say. I don't think the news media even knows which stories are going to trend or die. It might just be in part luck of the draw. The right factors conspire to make a story go viral, and now everyone is watching it.
And I wouldn't be surprised if it inspires more criminals to try it themselves thinking it's a good idea. Which, it's not, for one the AirTag will notify iPhone users they are being tracked, and gives them a choice to deactivate. Also the AirTag uses a serial number attached to an Apple account to tell who the owner is. So you get caught tracking people with an AirTag they'll know who you are.
Also the AirTag apparently beeps every so often to let you know where it is without checking your phone.