Driver finds a hidden AirTag in his car ahead of likely theft attempt

Find My Precision Finding Airtag Hero
Find My Precision Finding Airtag Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • An Apple AirTag was found in a car that appears to have been tracked for a later theft.
  • The driver's iPhone alerted them that an AirTag was present.
  • This is the latest in a run of similarly concerning reports.

Amid ongoing AirTag privacy concerns, one appears to have been used to try and track a car that had been marked for a later theft. According to local reports, a Detroit man found an AirTag in his 2018 Dodge Charger after leaving it parked at a mall.

Earlier this month, just two days after buying the car, Detroit man John Nelson parked up at a shopping center for a couple of hours. When he returned, his iPhone warned him of an AirTag that wasn't his.

FOX 2 Detroit picks up the story.

"I was able to click on that notification and it gave me an option to have the air tag emit a sound and I heard it underneath my vehicle," Nelson said.Whoever did this unscrewed a drain cap under the trunk of John's car and slipped the tag inside.

This comes after recent reports of AirTags being used to track people which themselves came after reports they were being used to steal cars.

Notably, the FOX 2 report says that a local auto theft task force says that the AirTag approach is one that's being used more and more.

It's important to note here that Apple's system did exactly what it was supposed to and alerted the car's owner that an unknown AirTag was with him. That allowed him to find the AirTag and remove it — but that wouldn't have worked if the driver was using an Android phone without the AirTag Tracker app installed and active.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

3 Comments
  • How about a report on how Tile trackers are being used like this. It can’t be an Apple only issue.
  • Or Trackr, or Chipolo, or Samsung tags.... I guess Air Tags work well, so they might be the device of choice for this, unfortunately. I'm waiting for the 'Patient alerted to doctor's keys accidentally being left in during surgery by Airtags tracking notification."
  • That's great and all, but AirTags are now basically useless to me for tracking any of my stuff that gets stolen and has one of these attached. That basically cuts the usefulness of AirTags in half, as I rarely misplace my keys, bag, etc.