There is a Chorus of voice who say Apple should do After to protect everyone – Android and iOS users – from unwanted tracking and harassment. I agree with them, and the whole concept of AirTag made me curious. Can you follow the trackers?
I’m not talking about Apple’s built-in warnings when unidentified AirTags end up on the same paths as you. You can find out all about how it works on the Apple website. Spoiler: If you are an Android user or are running a iOS version earlier than 14.5, you will have to wait for an AirTag to make a ringing sound after it is not near its paired device for A few days. (This is not the most useful if you are harassed by someone who comes into contact with you on a regular basis.)
My thought was that there must be some sort of method of tracking an AirTag by the signals it emits. He must reach out some as part of his handshake with devices enrolled in Apple “Find my “ network.
In the end, you can manually track an AirTag. Sort of. You just need a bluetooth scanner app (probably something like Light blue or Bluetooth scanner). Said device will not appear as AirTag when identified, but you will at least be able to know that a strange and unknown Bluetooth device is nearby. And, ideally, moving your phone could help you pinpoint its location.
Oif you perform a bluetooth search for AirTags, remember that their identifier (the string of letters and numbers that looks like 12: c9: 34: f8: a1: …) will change, random values. It is intentional. Your goal is to simply find the location of nearby Bluetooth devices that are transmitting. You won’t be able to specifically identify an AirTag (unless it’s unlinked from an iPhone, which then disables said randomization).
I don’t have my AirTags yet, so I can not yet explain how to scan more details – including the likelihood that an average person can be successful. That said, checking for unwanted AirTags using a Bluetooth scanning app shouldn’t be your go-to approach to ensuring your privacy. For starters, you’re probably going to have quite a few red herring, and it won’t be as easy to find an AirTag as it would be for locating a small device that won’t stop chirping.
Instead, you absolutely must install iOS 14.5 if you own an iPhone, which will let you know, passively, if this problem occurs. If you’re on Android and in doubt, use a scanner while waiting for an AirTag to beep (assuming the person controlling it is never nearby). And fingers crossed that Apple offers a much stronger solution for those who would rather know, the same day, that an AirTag is following them, rather than a week after the fact.