What are AirTag Bluetooth trackers? How do they work?

Are you always guilty of ‘misplacing’ things and then wishing that there was some way to find them immediately? Well, investing in a Bluetooth Tracker could help you keep track of all your important items such as keys, luggage, wallets, or even pets!

What are they and how do they work?

The AirTag (the name of Apple’s version) is simply a Bluetooth device which can be placed on/in your items to locate them. They are normally linked to your phone so that you can locate them easily (within Bluetooth range) and when requested, they can emit an audible sound; making the search for them even easier. Also, the AirTag is linked to a Precision Finding app, which in effect, is like a game of hot or cold; alerting you in real-time when you are closer or further away. This is very useful when in close proximity to your lost items, but what happens when things have been left in a completely different location or have been stolen?

If this is the case, the AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal which can be detected by nearby devices (without having to own an AirTag or have anything installed to do with it) in the Find My network which sends the location of the AirTag to iCloud. This means that you will be able to see its whereabouts on the Find My app map. Furthermore, if you mark the item as lost, some Bluetooth trackers allow you to log your details onto it so if it is found, it can be scanned and traced back to you.

The problem with Bluetooth trackers

Despite their positive intentions, there have been cases where AirTags have been used with mal intent, for example, stalking people or stealing cars. Normally, when an unknown AirTag is travelling with you, it will emit a sound or alert your phone, however, there have been cases where people have been able to disable the speaker, making them more difficult to find.

What are companies are doing to prevent this?

To prevent things like this from happening, Apple have recently introduced some new changes, on top of their existing safety features, to discourage unwanted tracking. Some of these new and existing features include:

  • Warning iPhone users earlier when there is an unknown AirTag travelling with them.
  • Alerting users with a louder sound.
  • Playing a sound when the device moves when it hasn’t been with the person who registered it for an extended period of time.
  • An app is available to download for Android users so that they will also be alerted if an unknown AirTag is travelling with them.
  • Only the owner of the AirTag can see where it is, and their location history is never stored on the device itself.
  • Devices that relay the device’s location remain anonymous and the location data is encrypted.
  • Apples new Personal User Safety Guide  is offering support and advice for people who may be “concerned about or experiencing technology-enabled abuse, stalking or harassment”.

In summary, Bluetooth tracking devices seem to be an extremely useful 21st century invention and if you’re always losing things, we recommend that you check them out. They’re also a great layer of extra protection when it comes to your valuables, giving you that extra piece of mind at the end of the day.

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Published: 8 April, 2022