Model says she was tracked by an AirTag that was left in her coat pocket

AirTag Setup
AirTag Setup (Image credit: Joe Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A model says she was tracked by an AirTag that had been placed into her coat pocket.
  • The woman's iPhone alerted her to the unknown AirTag.
  • It's thought the AirTag had been in her pocket for five hours before being found.

Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader says that she was tracked by an unknown AirTag and wasn't aware until her iPhone warned her of the fact.

This isn't the first time that an AirTag has been used to track someone without their knowledge, but this is probably the most high-profile incident yet. Nader says that she was at a restaurant in Manhatten when she believes someone slipped the AirTag into her coat pocket after leaving it on a chair. It was five hours before her iPhone alerted her that she had an AirTag traveling with her.

From Sports Illustrated:

"I was at a restaurant/bar in Tribeca waiting on someone alone and had my coat on the chair behind me," she said in an Instagram story video. "Then I went to meet some girlfriends at a bar nearby. I didn't get any notifications. Then I went to the next spot, no notifications. Then, stupidly, I was walking home alone because I live in the neighborhood. Around 11:30 p.m., I was already on my walk home when I got the notifications that said someone is tracking you and has been for a while. So I freaked out. And then, of course, my phone died. So, my man was freaking out."

Thankfully the AirTag and iPhone combo worked as they should and Nader received a notification warning her of the tracker's presence. The five-hour gap is the main issue here, something that could well be explained by the fact she was in crowded places and the iPhone wasn't able to discern that the AirTag was on her person, not in someone else's pocket. It's possible it only alerted her when she was alone because that was when the AirTag had to be with her.

Of course, the fact the iPhone sent an alert as it should and a possible explanation for the delay in notification won't help allay fears that AirTags can be used in this way, nor should it. Other trackers could be used in a similar way, but the ubiquity of iPhones means that AirTags are more likely to provide an accurate location. And while Tile and other companies have sold trackers for years, Apple's entry into the market has undoubtedly made such devices more high profile — and horrible people are beginning to learn how they could misuse them.

Oliver Haslam

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.