“I was following someone with AirTag. And overall, I’m still following … – Niebezpiecznik.pl –

I lost my AirTag. After ~10 minutes, I noticed a notification on my iPhone: “BACKPACK was left behind“. So I launched the Find My application, turned back and went to the point indicated on the map…

It was a beach bench where I was rummaging in my backpack. I must have lost my AirTag then. Luckily, he wasn’t stuck to anything. But it was still worth picking up, because 133 PLN does not go on foot! Even though that’s when I thought about it that things started to happen. The Find My app showed me that the AirTag, which I was 300 meters away from, moved. He was walking along the boardwalk.

OKAY. Someone found it and took it with them, but luckily they didn’t remove the battery. There are also a lot of people on the boardwalk, probably a lot of them with iPhones, so you should be able to follow the finder fairly precisely.

Oh my naivety…

I’m running to AirTag for the first time

When I got to where the Find My app was pointing, the location of the AirTag changed again. I started clicking “play sound” every few seconds and quickly moved through the crowd. Exactly. There were a lot of people … Who among them has my AirTag in a pocket, backpack, purse or bike bag? It’s not like Steve Jobs’ celestial finger appears above the discoverer’s head. You only see (or up to!) the point on the map on your smartphone. And that’s all.

After about a minute, Find My changed my interface to one for scanning surroundings for AirTag. We are getting closer!

But then it went back to the map view. It turned out that I was ahead of my finder. The promenade was about 20 meters wide. Extra 100 range… So I stood in the middle of the walk and waited for the finder to pass me. The problem was that 30 people passed me in one second. Plus it was noisy. There is no chance of hearing the sound of the AirTag (which will only start coming out of it anyway if the tag gets about 10 meters closer to it. And everyone is moving).

Who to follow? Who looks like an AirTag finder?

After a few minutes, I was disturbed by AirTag’s position change on the map. He appeared 50 meters from me, in the beach area.

I run to AirTag for the second time

It turned out to be a playground for the kids. Let me tell you, a bearded man walking among 5-year-olds with a smartphone that brings him closer to the kids’ pockets is not a normal sight on a playground.

Fortunately, most of my parents looked at their smartphones and no one hit me. It’s worse that the iPhone, although it reverted to “close area scan” mode, no longer tracked anything. It didn’t show I’m closer, it didn’t show I’m farther. And after two minutes, the AirTag location changed to point to the very end of the boardwalk, 500 meters from this playground! No baby crawls so fast!

I’m running to AirTag for the third time!

So I run in place again. And there, the map refreshes again and the AirTag appears 200 meters away, in the marina. And I already knew that my seeker, looking at the changes in distance and the chosen route, was traveling by bicycle. Challenge accepted. I run to the place on the map. I run, but the zone scan does not start. I’m stuck there for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes and nothing.

At this point, there is a pedestrian crossing through the parking lot and a road deeply embedded in the buildings. My cyclist either changed into a car or moved into buildings. For a long time, the AirTaga item did not refresh. So I went back to base.

The researcher’s house is locked!

AirTag spoke after an hour, on a bike path, 7 kilometers from me. Didn’t feel like running anymore, and the nighttime taxi chase in a strange town where not everyone speaks English, yet intriguing, lost to the new episode of Noise Reducer on YouTube and the costing it would take dedicate to it hunt. Either way, this hunt will prove ineffective, as AirTag only updated its location once that day, shortly before midnight, between the buildings where the pizzeria was located. And then his position was not refreshed for the next day.

It was only the following day, at noon, that he took the floor here.

And he stays here till today. It has the so-called “lost mode“Which means if the finder had an iPhone, it would be able to read my email address from the AirTag. But apparently a finder he doesn’t know what he found. Because neither contacted nor removed the battery.

Anyway, if the finder had an iPhone, then the iPhone itself would spit out a message that it was “tracked” (hehe) by a foreign AirTag. About such:

Can this AirTag be recovered?

Sure. It’s been in the same place for days, so it must be the finder’s apartment. Going up the stairs and approaching the door and listening for the AirTag beep would probably lead to a decent apartment after about twelve minutes. The problem is that I am no longer here.

But if you ever visit Valencia… 🙂 Even with Android, you can track this AirTag using this app (or any other BlueTooth scanner).

My AirTag has a robot emote printed (the one shown in the first image of this article), so you can easily prove that the researcher has your AirTag. Bounty for the finder finder awaits! 🙂

My opinion on AirTags

AirTag in principle has fulfilled its function. After a few minutes, I received a notification that I had lost it. The AirTag still works and shows the location, which means that if I lost it, for example with a bag with camera equipment, I would probably be able to reach the finder and recover the equipment.

As you can see, not everyone is aware of what they’ve found (and how badly it could harm their privacy), even if they look directly at AirTag.

AirTag, on the other hand, is completely unsuitable for “real-time” tracking. (in case anyone is wondering). Even if you are several tens of meters from the seeker (or at least in a place as busy as the beach), you may not know who the seeker is. Because there are a lot of people. And running after a point on the map makes no sense. The item only refreshes if the AirTag passes in front of someone with an iPhone. And that, even on a densely populated beach, is not, surprisingly to me, too common. Maybe things would be different if the finder was using the iPhone itself?

I was also surprised how this neighborhood scan feature worked. It seems to me that it doesn’t turn on when it picks up a beacon from “our” AirTag, but when the phone determines that we are approaching the area last reported by AirTag. Well, but if the AirTag moves, we search for it, sweeping the area and thinking it’s close, we follow a search pattern, and then it moves away.

Conclusion: AirTaga is not designed for real-time tracking. Anyway, even Tomek proves it, who with the help of AirTag wanted to track a person whose appearance he knew (unlike me).

What to do, how to live?

I have two tips:

  • First, for me: I should have an AirTag case/holder, then it wouldn’t fall off. I have already corrected this error.
  • Second, for Apple: it would be nice to “share AirTag location” with other people. Then I could search it on multiple phones with my friends. One team in the east, the other in the west, and so on. But maybe I demand too much of the gadget to know if I left my wallet on the sofa or in a taxi…

Oh, it should be mentioned that the same as AirTags work too AirPodsy and of course the latest iPhones and Macbooks (which can be located even after switching off). You just need to activate this option. It’s worth it. You will do it like this:

This is worth remembering when you find someone else’s gear (helmet, bag, or the bare AirTag itself). Their owner can follow you. It should also be remembered that in addition to monitoring in “real life”, it’s much easier to track and strip people of their privacy online. If this subject interests you, come to my conference on “How not to get hacked?”, which will be held soon in Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw and Gdansk. Here is the complete agenda and the possibility of obtaining a place.

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