What you need to know
- AirTags are being used to steal cars.
- The York Regional Police have worked on five cases since September where an AirTag was involved.
Apple's AirTags are being used by car thieves to track down high-end vehicles.
In a new report released by the York Regional Police in Ontario, Canada, the department is warning about a new method that car thieves are using to identify the vehicles they want to steal: AirTags. According to the report, the suspects leave an AirTag on a vehicle, track it to a residence, and then steal it from the victim's driveway.
The police are recommending the following safety tips to prevent their vehicles from being stolen:
- If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage. Most vehicles are stolen from a driveway
- Use a steering wheel lock. It will also act as a visible deterrent
- Install a lock on the data port. This simple device can be purchased online and blocks access to the computer port where the thieves gain access to reprogram the vehicle's keys
- Consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system. Ensure cameras are properly placed and functioning for day and night time use. Familiarize yourself with the system so it can be reviewed and accessed easily
- Inspect your vehicle regularly and call police if you notice any suspicious potential tracking devices
Apple has been getting a lot of heat about the security and privacy issues that can occur with its new item tracker. While it is handy for keeping up with the location of your keys, wallet, backpack, and more, it can also be used for a nefarious purpose like the one outlined above.
Apple has released some safety features to ensure you can identify an unknown AirTag if it moves with you, including an audible sound and a notification on your iPhone. However, the second feature currently only works if you have an iPhone. Apple has committed to making an Android app that would help protect those with a non-Apple device but it still has yet to release anything.
Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.
Oh great. Now we will be deluged with articles about how it is somehow Apple's fault. There have been cell based GPS trackers forever. Tile could be used to do this, but their network is not as robust as Apple's, so AirTags work better, for this use case. Finding some way to alert you of a foreign tracker presents its own problems. If you shorten the time before it alerts you, you will be riding with your spouse and kids and everyone's phone will be going off because of the other tags in the car. I see three options, all such trackers should be illegal because they all could be misused, garage your car (noted in the article), or don't drive a desireable car.
Apple definitely needs to take some blame, especially since Apple defaults all of their customers into helping them to find those AirTag's.
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