Apple AirTag is a small device like a tile that can be attached to any of your objects like wallets, car keys, luggage, etc. This will help to locate your personal belongings in case you seem to have misplaced them. This device works on Bluetooth Technology and allows users to use their iPhone to ping the object. These devices work with iOS 14.5 update only and send messages periodically that assist iPhone users to track the location of AirTags attached to their objects.
The first time you hear about AirTags, it would seem to be one of the most useful objects in the world. However, as useful they might seem, there is a flaw with these objects and that is related to the technology they use. AirTags use Apple’s operated surveillance network which includes all the people who use Apple devices whether they want to be a part of it or not. These small discs need to be paired with the user’s Apple ID and then display the tag’s location in Find My App.
All Apple AirTags transmit a unique ID using Bluetooth technology. When an Apple device comes in the range within 100 metres then the AirTag’s ID will be sent to Apple’s servers which can be accessed by the user who has configured the AirTag using Find My App. In simpler words, all Apple devices involuntarily recognize all the AirTags IDs nearby and upload the location on Apple Servers. However, if Your AirTag is located in an area without compatible Apple devices nearby then your AirTag can never be found using Find My App. These tags depend on the Apple device’s location data to transmit their location information as they do not have GPS built-in them.
The main concern highlighted by experts here is the fact that there are a lot of devices involved to locate the position of AirTag. If a person uses an AirTag, then he/she will avail themselves of a global monitoring network that contains millions of iPhones. Besides if you are traveling to a different country with your iPhone then the uploading of any AirTag around you to Apple’s Servers would be at your expense and the data transfer cost would come out of your pocket. The best possible solution would be to keep your data roaming off unless you need it.
Although Apple claims that it has implemented several safeguards like triggering an alert when an AirTag accompanies a person who is not the owner. But these measures can easily be hacked into. Certain experiments have been conducted to prove that no safeguards have been triggered if the victim and stalker are within range in less than three days. And there is another possibility that with, frequent false alarms, people might begin to ignore and dismiss these prompts.
The best possible solution to avoid becoming a part of Apple’s global network is to keep your Bluetooth and Location Services off when you are not using them. When you turn off your Bluetooth then your iPhone will not be able to read all the pings transmitted by AirTags around you and hence no information will be uploaded to the Apple Servers. But without Bluetooth you would also lose your headphones, speakers and satellite navigation. You would also not be able to locate your iPhone through Find My App and will not be able to use AirTags at all. So the boon of using Bluetooth in Apple devices brings along the bane of being a part of the Apple Network at all times.