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The AirTag has an anti-stalking mechanism, so than when an unknown AirTag moves with your iPhone you will get a notification.

This would mean that a thief who has an iPhone will get notified that the stolen item is being tracked. The thief then can locate the AirTag with their own iPhone and disable it.

So for theft situations the AirTag seems to be pretty useless to me.

Am I missing something? Is there a solution to this built in?

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  • I don’t get why a thief would opt in to Apple telling them where items are? I also don’t get what anti-stalking means in context of Apple or the service since it’s not designed for tracking people or stolen devices afaik even if some of the features could in practice become useful for that. Are you thinking lost mode on iPhone perhaps instead of AirTags?
    – bmike
    May 3, 2021 at 16:47
  • A thieve or any Apple device user for that matter does not have to opt into anything to get these AirTag notifications and I am even not sure if there is way to opt out at all, I haven't found one. If there is an unknown AirTag moving with your Apple device, you will get a notification whatsoever and the AirTag will beep. That's exactly the anti-stalking mechanism that is built into AirTags so they cannot be used to track people. Without this feature it would be a perfect way to track a person without their consent (especially if that person is an iPhone user).
    – bitbonk
    May 3, 2021 at 17:10

1 Answer 1

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AirTags are not marketed by Apple as an anti-theft solution. It is for lost items only (i.e. when you can't remember where you left your car keys in your home).

If an AirTag is stolen, the thieve can detect the tag (given that they have an iPhone running a sufficiently new version of iOS) and disable it. Indeed even if they haven't, the AirTag will after a time emit a sound when moved, alerting the thief to its presence. However, you will still be able to see its last known location in Find My.

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  • I think there is a lot of complexity buried in the sentence “If an AirTag is stolen, the thieve can detect the tag and disable it.“ as we all discover how this is implemented, it might not be as scary as some are making it out.
    – bmike
    May 4, 2021 at 0:40
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    What part do you mean? Disabling it is as simple as removing the battery.
    – jksoegaard
    May 4, 2021 at 4:56

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