Apple AirTag Accessories

Apple bringing new Safety and Privacy to AirTags

Apple to introduce a number of changes to make it harder to misuse AirTags to track someone.

Since Apple AirTag’s launched last April, there have been reports of people misusing them to to track people without their consent or knowledge and tracking another person’s property.

Individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons, such as when borrowing someone’s keys with an AirTag attached, or when traveling in a car with a family member’s AirPods left inside. There has also been reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes.

An Apple AirTag is a small accessory that helps keep track of and find the items that matter most with Apple’s Find My app. Whether attached to a handbag, keys, backpack, or other items, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My network and can help locate a lost item, all while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.

AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking. Bluetooth signal identifiers transmitted by AirTag rotate frequently to prevent unwanted location tracking. iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn’t with its owner, and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be traveling with them from place to place over time.

Apple says it has has been working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies, and have identified even more ways the company can update AirTag safety warnings and help guard against further unwanted tracking.

Apple AirTag Front and Back

Advancements Coming to AirTag and the Find My Network

New privacy warnings during AirTag setup

In an upcoming software update, every user setting up their AirTag for the first time will see a message that clearly states that AirTag is meant to track their own belongings, that using AirTag to track people without consent is a crime in many regions around the world, that AirTag is designed to be detected by victims, and that law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag.

Addressing alert issues for AirPods

Apple has heard from users who have reported receiving an “Unknown Accessory Detected” alert. This alert will not display if an AirTag is detected near you — only AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or a third-party Find My network accessory.

In the same software update, Apple will be updating the alert users receive to indicate that AirPods have been traveling with them instead of an “Unknown Accessory.”

Updated support documentation

Today Apple is updating its unwanted tracking support article on to communicate the safety features built into AirTag, AirPods, and Find My network accessories.

This page now includes additional explanations of which Find My accessories may trigger an unwanted tracking alert, more visuals to provide specific examples of such alerts, and updated information on what to do after receiving an alert, including instructions for disabling an AirTag, AirPods, or Find My network accessory.

There are also links to resources individuals can use if they feel their safety is at risk, such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Apple AIrTag Pairing

Apple is also investigating a series of updates that they plan to introduce later this year, including:

Precision Finding

This capability allows recipients of an unwanted tracking alert to locate an unknown AirTag with precision. iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users will be able to use Precision Finding to see the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when it is in range.

As an iPhone user moves, Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope to guide them to the AirTag through a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback.

Display alert with sound

When AirTag automatically emits a sound to alert anyone nearby of its presence and is detected moving with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, Apple will also display an alert on your device that you can then take action on, like playing a sound or using Precision Finding, if available.

This will help in cases where the AirTag may be in a location where it is hard to hear, or if the AirTag speaker has been tampered with.

Refining unwanted tracking alert logic

Apple’s unwanted tracking alert system uses sophisticated logic to determine how users are alerted. The company plan to update the unwanted tracking alert system to notify users earlier that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be traveling with them.

Tuning AirTag’s sound

Currently, iOS users receiving an unwanted tracking alert can play a sound to help them find the unknown AirTag.  The tone sequence will be adjusted to use more of the loudest tones to make an unknown AirTag more easily findable.