Silent AirTags and Other Accessories Raise Privacy Concerns

There’s little doubt Apple’s AirTag can be useful, but it also raises a lot of safety and privacy concerns. Making things even worse, there are those people anxious to make a profit off the not-so-benign uses of the technology. There’s been a rise in silent AirTags and other accessories for the trackers becoming more readily available. I can’t help but wonder if anybody’s privacy and safety are sacred anymore.

How Do You Come Up With a Silent AirTag?

You may already know, but an AirTag chirps, rather loudly, after it’s been away from its registered owner for too long. This is one way people can discover that someone has accidentally (or not-so-accidentally) left an AirTag on or near them.

For those with the know-how, disabling that chirp isn’t too difficult. Just carefully disassemble the device, remove the speaker, and then put the thing back together. The Find My and other apps don’t have any ability (yet) of disabling such an altered AirTag.

silent airtag with speaker removed

These modified AirTags have shown up on eBay and Etsy, raising serious privacy concerns. While the e-commerce sites have removed some such listings, at least one was still available as of this writing.

Of course, the seller doesn’t say it’s for tracking people. Quite the opposite, a disclaimer on the listing says it’s only for tracking your cat or dog. Because honestly, if your pet has been away from you for long enough to set off the chirp (8 to 24 hours, according to one report), you wouldn’t want a bit of noise to let them know you cared.

Other Accessories Clearly Up to No Good

That’s not the only way people are capitalizing on the stalkers of society. Another Etsy seller has a “secret covert mounting case with magnets” you could purchase. The intended purpose of this accessory is pretty clear, since it bills itself as letting you track a car.

magnetic airtag case

There are many more accessories for the AirTag that serve only to increase the tracker’s threat to your privacy. Yes, AirTags have helped people find lost items, even entire truckloads of their belongings. Even so, the threat of stalkers using them has gotten so serious Apple has released a Personal Safety User Guide. It also added features in the Find My app and an Android app to detect if an AirTag is hanging around too long.

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Lee Dronick

Well there are other such tracking devices out there, and they were available long before the AirTag.