How to detect an AirTag tracker spying on you

How to detect an AirTag tracker spying on you

by Kurt Knutsson

Apple is making privacy changes to AirTag tracking devices to help stop them from being used to secretly track others.

Concern about the misuse of an AirTag by an abusive spouse, stalker or anyone secretly deploying one into your handbag, backpack or attaching to a car for the purpose of spying on you has come front and center of risks of this new tracking technology.

Originally, an AirTag would chime after three days it was separated from its owner and was moving. Only iPhone owners would get a notification that an “AirTag Found Moving With You” on their screen (AirTag notifications occur for Apple device owners running iOS 14.5 and above.  Be sure to update your software to the latest operating system.)  For those with an Android, they would get no such alert at all.

Apple is answering the concerns and has announced an update to AirTag that will send an alert earlier to an iPhone within 8 to 24 hours randomly instead of waiting 3 days if it’s moving with you, but without its owner.

Apple will also be working on an app to release later this year for Android to detect AirTags and other Find My devices. Related: Spying Airtags can now be found with Android devices

Until then, I have some ways you can detect one of these tiny tracking devices near you.

Apple Keyring


How to detect an AirTag

Using a simple Bluetooth tracker app, you can scan the area around you to see if an AirTag is near you. One of the free Bluetooth detector apps is called BLE Scanner 4.0.

  1. Download BLE Scanner from the App Store  or Google Play
  2. Launch BLE Scanner app
  3. Use the mapping feature to sort Bluetooth signals by distance.

Related: Apple introduces a free app to scan for “unknown” trackers that could be following you


How to disable an AirTag

If you find an unauthorized AirTag tracking you, here’s what to do:

  1. Tap and hold the top of your Android or Apple NFC-capable smartphone to the white side of the AirTag
  2. Tap the notification that appears. This opens a website that provides information about the AirTag,  including the serial number (see image below)  Write down the serial number or do a screenshot to snap a picture of your screen that includes the serial number of the AirTag. (This can be helpful for police)
  3. Push down and twist counterclockwise on the white side of the AirTag
  4. Take the cover off and remove the battery.
  5. Once you remove the battery, the location of the AirTag is no longer visible to its owner. If you feel your safety is at risk, contact local law enforcement.


Why you want to use an AirTag

AirTag is by far the best Bluetooth tracker I have ever tested. For practical purposes, it works incredibly well, is very accurate after my evaluation for weeks.  At just $29, Apple AirTag is the best pet tracker too.

We have one on our dog’s collar and can see where she is regardless of distance from the house.

AirTags work by tapping into Bluetooth connections from other Apple devices like iPhones, iPads and Macs it comes near. Instead of GPS, the faint signal of Bluetooth LE allows the replaceable battery on an AirTag to last up to a year according to Apple.

Tip: Use 2 AirTags to track your own car if stolen.   See how here.

Related: Apple AirTag Trackers being used by car thieves

Spying AirTags can now be found with Android devices


Bernard Geter December 19, 2021 - 11:41 am

Thank you Mr Kurt Godbless you. This helps me alot. I have alot of haters. And bad neighbors.

Rick January 4, 2022 - 3:02 pm

Great article with useful information. One question, though. What if someone stole your backpack and disables the AirTag you put in it to retrieve said backpack? This is a tough one.

Kurt CyberGuy Knutsson
Kurt Knutsson January 24, 2022 - 1:04 pm

Hi Rick, Great question! We actually recently answered it in this article

DFW January 10, 2022 - 5:05 am

So, Apple is secretly allowing someone else’s device tap into the Bluetooth on someone else’s device? Why stop there? Why don’t they secretly allow other devices to tap into other people’s hotspot when they have them enabled? Seriously? How can prevent basically unauthorized bluetooth devices from communicating w/ or connecting to other peoples phone?


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