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Are You Being Stalked? What to Do When You See an “AirTag Found Moving With You” Alert

Unlike other trackers, the AirTag utilizes Apple’s extensive Find My network. With a network of over a billion Apple devices, it is possible to pinpoint the precise location of an AirTag after linking it to your Apple ID.

On the surface, the AirTag is excellent for finding your keys. But with its small, thin size, long battery life, and ease of use, it is also easy for stalkers to slip an AirTag into a coat pocket or bag when you’re not paying attention. They could then use it to follow you home.

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That is, if you don’t get the AirTag Found Moving With You message first. So, what is this message and what should you do if you get it?

What Is the “AirTag Found Moving With You” Message?

During its initial launch, many people wondered whether the AirTag could be used for stalking. For this reason, Apple introduced additional safety features to help safeguard unsuspecting people from stalkers.

While this alert can be harmless if it simply means you borrowed an item from a friend or family member with an AirTag attached, it can also be a sign that someone has used an AirTag to track your movement.

What to Do if You Get the “AirTag Found Moving With You” Message

If you’re wondering what to do if an alert like this pops up, here are all the steps you should take once you are notified that an unknown AirTag has been found moving with you.

1. Locate the Physical AirTag

The first thing you should do when you get the notification is to search for the physical AirTag. To accomplish this, tap on the alert and press Continue. Then, select Play Sound to locate it.

In some cases, finding the AirTag can reveal that it is simply among borrowed items from friends or family members and should not cause any concern. If this is the case, tap the option to disable “AirTag Detected” notifications for your preferred length of time.

Similarly, if someone in your Family Sharing group owns the AirTag, you can disable Item Safety Alerts. Go to the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad to accomplish this. In the lower-right part of the screen, tap Me. Next, toggle off the switch next to Item Safety Alerts and tap Disable.

If you find an AirTag that you don’t recognize, it’s best to check for more than one. If the intent is to stalk you, the suspect may hide multiple AirTags in case you find the first one.

2. Stay in a Public Place

When you realize you are being tracked, it’s best to throw off a potential stalker by going to a public space. If possible, avoid going home, entering a personal vehicle with an identifiable plate number, or going to your place of work. In addition, it’s good to avoid posting your situation or location on social media until the threat is resolved.

While trying to think of the following steps, it’s best to stay within proximity of safe spaces. For example, hotel lobbies and banks are some common areas with security personnel and 24/7 cameras. During this time, be wary of anyone following you or trying to speak with you.

3. Scan the AirTag for the Serial Number and Lost Status

Next, find additional information about the unknown AirTag traveling with you. To accomplish this, tap the notification and select Learn About This AirTag.

Aside from its serial number, an unknown AirTag could also be marked as a lost. Once an AirTag is marked as lost, it will show its owner’s contact details. If you know the owner of the AirTag, you can contact them and tell them that their missing AirTag is in your care.

Remember that just because an AirTag is marked as lost it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of stalking. It could be a way for a potential stalker to attain your phone number. For this reason, avoid contacting the owner of a lost AirTag with your number if you don’t know them personally.

Lastly, if you agree to return a lost AirTag to an unknown owner, it is best to avoid meeting them in person. Alternatively, you can leave the AirTag to be picked up through customer service or lost and found booths located in malls, hotels, or other public places.

4. Disable the AirTag

If the AirTag is not marked as lost, it is best to disable its tracking mechanisms as soon as possible. To disable an AirTag, remove its battery by pressing down on the battery cover and rotating it counter-clockwise until it can no longer be rotated. Then, remove the cover and the battery.

While it can be tempting to throw away an unknown AirTag immediately, disabling it allows you to turn over the AirTag to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.

5. Alert the Authorities

When possible, file a report of the unknown AirTag traveling with you through the appropriate channels, which are listed on the Apple website. Upon doing so, don’t forget to include details such as when you first realized you had an unknown AirTag on you, the places you have been to recently, and the serial number.

Avoid confronting possible stalkers by yourself. If possible, ask for the assistance of the appropriate authorities and don’t expose yourself more than necessary.

How to Enable AirTag Alerts on Your iPhone

Because of their device settings, not everyone will receive an alert when an AirTag is found moving with them. Here’s how to make sure you do.

To enable unknown AirTag alerts on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you must ensure that your device runs on iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later. So, if you haven’t updated your operating system in a while, now is the time.

You also need to allow several iPhone features for AirTag alerts to work:

  • Location Services
  • Find My iPhone
  • Significant Locations
  • Bluetooth

If you’re uncertain if you’ve enabled these options already, here’s how to turn on each one.

How to Enable Location Services

  1. On your Apple device, go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Enable the Location Services toggle.

How to Turn on Find My on Your Apple Device

  1. On your Apple device, go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Scroll down and select System Services.
  5. Enable the Find My iPhone toggle.

How to Turn on Significant Locations on Your Apple Device

  1. On your Apple device, go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Scroll down and select System Services.
  5. Enable the Significant Locations toggle.

How to Turn on Bluetooth on Your Apple Device

  1. On your Apple device, go to Settings.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Enable the Bluetooth toggle.

The Problem With AirTag Alerts

While the AirTag alert is helpful, it’s not without its flaws. Because the AirTag utilizes changing Bluetooth identifiers, it is possible the many features designed for privacy can inhibit its safety features for stalking.

For example, if an AirTag alert is left alone overnight, features such as Play Sound will not be able to work. This is because the unique Bluetooth identifier of the unknown AirTag may have already changed within that timespan.

In addition, the timer for notifications also resets when the AirTag is within proximity of a device with the same Apple ID. So, if a prospective stalker managed to stay close enough to you, you’re likely not going to get a notification immediately.

Lastly, while Apple users have more AirTag anti-stalking features, Android users have fewer options. Non-Apple users will only be notified after 8 to 24 hours that an unknown AirTag is following them.

Thankfully, Apple is firm that the AirTag is designed to work on objects, not people. With this, we can count on the fact that it’s continuously working on ways to prevent stalking using AirTags. However, being a little more vigilant is never a bad idea, especially regarding your safety.

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