GPS trackers are great for keeping track of your keys, laptop, remote control, and anything you don’t want to lose.
Trackers can also help you find luggage when you’re traveling. It may be a good idea to throw one in your carry-on. Tap or click here for more smart tech tips that’ll ease your mind when you’re on the go.
But there’s a dark side to these little devices. Apple AirTags has been at the center of some scary situations since its release, but this latest incident is the worst.
Here’s the backstory
Gaylyn Morris of Indiana used an AirTag to track her boyfriend, Andre Smith, to a bar in Indianapolis. The couple and another woman got into a fight and were all kicked out of the bar.
According to an affidavit by Detective Gregory Shu, a witness saw Morris hit Smith with her car outside the bar. She then backed over Smith and pulled forward to hit him a third time. Smith died from his injuries.
Morris told detectives that she placed an AirTag in the back seat of Smith’s car, near the cupholder. A search of Morris’ car turned up an “Apple AirTag packaging box.” Morris’ iPhone was also seized. Morris was arrested and is facing a murder charge.
Tracking people, not just things
The murder of Andre Smith highlights a significant issue surrounding GPS trackers. They can be used to track people without their knowledge. In this case, the AirTag was placed in the victim’s car, but these tiny devices can easily be slipped into a purse or pocket.
Apple has made changes to the way AirTags function to address stalking concerns. When an AirTag is separated from its owner for too long, it emits a beep. The beep frequency was reduced from three days to between 8 and 24 hours.
Apple announced other updates that began rolling out with iOS 15.4:
- Precision Finding makes it easier to locate an AirTag if you get an unwanted tracking alert.
- When an AirTag moving with you beeps to alert you of its presence, you’ll also get an alert on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You’ll see prompts to take action, such as playing a sound or using Precision Finding.
- The audible alert from unknown AirTags was made louder.
If your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch runs iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later, it automatically scans for nearby AirTags. You’ll get a notification that reads “AirTag Found Moving With You.” If you get this alert, here’s what to do:
- Tap the message, then tap Continue.
- Tap Play Sound if you need help finding the AirTag.
- If you don’t know where the AirTag came from, tap Learn About This AirTag to see its serial number and whether or not it’s marked as lost.
- If you find the AirTag on your vehicle or other property, tap Instructions to Disable AirTag and follow the onscreen steps to stop sharing your location.
Android users have to take an extra step
Apple released an app on the Google Play Store that lets Android phones locate trackers compatible with Apple’s Find My network. Tracker Detect works with Android 9.0 and up and within Bluetooth range.
Annoyingly, the app’s tracking feature won’t work independently, as it does with iOS devices. Android users have to open the app and tap Scan manually. If the app detects an AirTag or Find My network accessory nearby, you can play a sound to help locate it.