The dark side of AirTags

The dark side of AirTags

Last night Protective Group talked to Channel 9 News about the Apple AirTag and how an innocent device can be turned sinister.


Tracking tiles have been readily available for years- a small device that works very similar to Apple’s well known “Track my iPhone” program.


The AirTag by Apple sends out a Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the ‘Find My network’ ( Apple ). These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud — then you can go to the ‘Find My app’ and see it on a map. It’s a small device designed to help you keep track of your phone, wallets and even your pets.


Such tiles/tags present a significant risk as perpetrators, disgruntled work colleagues, anyone with ill-intentions can place one of these in a victim’s car or belongings ( hand bag ) and it doesn’t require the perpetrator to be in proximity to locate the tag. Any Apple device will update its location.

Even if an unknown victim has an Android device which the location won’t update, someone else’s iPhone can transmit the location – Particular concerning if the victim has this device when going into a refuge or a safe location and a welfare or refuge worker unknown to them transmits this information back to the Perpetrator.


Another concern is the ability to conceal these devices as they are magnetic- A perpetrator could easily attach these to a petrol cap and underneath a car with ease.

The AirTags use the Ultraband frequencies to perform a handshake with Apple devices (Ultraband includes Bluetooth LTE),

They have a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip installed and when tapped on the top of a phone identify the serial number and how to disable it.


Technology Abuse is prevalent in Domestic and Family Violence- 99.3% of family violence workers have clients who had experienced technology facilitated stalking and abuse.*

Protective Group have seen a significant rise in Technology Abuse particularly in the last two years during COVID-19. With more people at home, working and spending time online it’s become the weapon of choice of perpetrators. We see each day the way the perpetrator controls their victim and the psychological and emotional effect it has on the victim, the victim questions themselves every minute of the day “ am I being watched, are they looking at me”.


The violence isn’t always physical but the intent is always the same- control their victim and their movements.


We thank Channel 9 News and Meg Sydes for allowing us to share our thoughts.


If you are concerned about yourself, family members or friends please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for support services or if in danger now call 000.