How to find and disable an AirTag that is being used to track your location
Apple says that the AirTag has a privacy-centric design, but that doesn’t stop someone from slipping one into your bag and then tracking it (and you) as you move around. Here’s how to disable an unwanted AirTag found moving with you.
Apple launched the AirTag, its wireless object tracker a couple of weeks ago, allowing iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users to keep track of their belongings via the Find My app on their phones. Apple has designed the tracker to find objects and has cautioned against using it to track children. However, there are certain situations where even adults could be targeted and tracked using an AirTag, so the company allows you to identify these rogue trackers and disable them manually.
Apple says that the AirTag has a privacy-centric design, but that doesn’t stop someone from slipping one into your bag and then tracking the tag (and you) as you move around. If you want to identify and disable an AirTag you don’t recognise, here’s what you need to do.
Step 1: First, make sure to take a backup and update to iOS 14.5 – there are several reasons to update including new features and important security fixes.
Step 2: Once you have updated your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you should see a popup that says "AirTag Found Moving With You" whenever your iPhone detects an unknown AirTag that is moving around with you.
Step 3: Tap the message and you will see a card pop up saying your current location can be seen by the owner of the AirTag and specifies the time that it was first spotted by your device. Tap Continue.
Step 4: If the AirTag isn’t in plain sight, you can tap Play Sound to quickly locate it. If you recognise the AirTag or if it’s attached to something you borrowed, then you can tell your device to stop informing you about it for a day or permanently.
Step 5: However, if you think the AirTag doesn’t belong in your bag, then tap on Instructions to Disable AirTag which will show you how to unscrew the back of the AirTag and take out the battery, effectively stopping the tracker from sharing your location.
Apple says you can also inform your local law enforcement officials who will be able to help in case they feel their safety is at risk, but they will probably have to provide the AirTag’s serial number – so it’s best to note that down before contacting the authorities. If you suddenly hear an AirTag go off near you, you can check to see if the owner has marked it as lost, which is when their phone number will pop up and you can help reunite them with their lost belongings.