Apple must eradicate a bug that causes AirTags to stalk false alarms

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With all the publicity generated when a rogue Apple AirTag is used to stalk unsuspecting victims, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple now has issues with AirTags that lead to alerts being sent to users who aren’t being stalked at all. While the device is designed to help people keep an eye on small items that they easily lose, such as key rings, the AirTags have been used by criminals to track the whereabouts of certain car models that yield high returns in the stolen car market.

iPhone users receive fake notifications saying they are being stalked

And to prevent iPhone users from falling victim to criminal AirTag users, they will be alerted when they are followed by someone else’s AirTags. That’s what happened recently at Disney World when a mother and daughter left the park and the daughter received a notification on her iPhone saying that she was followed by someone else’s AirTag. Fortunately, nothing ever came of the incident, although it scared them both.

What is happening more and more is that iPhone users get such terrifying warnings even when they are not followed at all. The news says some of these alerts come in the middle of the night and scare those who receive the notifications. In most cases, the rogue AirTags are not in the path of the affected iPhone users at all and may be the result of a bug or malfunction.

The false reports have “caused confusion and concern, and sent recipients on a wild goose chase,” according to the report. Wall Street Journal† And charts that follow these false AirTag warnings create patterns that are not realistic. These patterns show the erratic movements of these AirTags moving in nonsensical directions.

Ryan McClain, a 25-year-old marketer in Indianapolis, received a report one morning last month that he was being followed. His reaction was a combination of bewilderment, fear and concern. “It was a shock to my morning,” he said. “I thought, who would want to stalk me? Who would want to hurt me?” McClain and his fiancé searched in vain for the offending AirTags the next day.

Apple must eradicate bugs that scare users by sending them false messages about being stalked

Toronto-based consumer researcher Marcus Geisler found the movement pattern generated by the AirTags strange. “The AirTag’s movement pattern on the map looked super weird,” Geisler said. “I thought my neighbor’s dog might have accidentally swallowed it”, He couldn’t find any rogue AirTags either.

Another iPhone user, 24-year-old Natalia Garcia, received a report that an “AirTag (was) found moving along”. She received the message after an evening in downtown Chicago. “It was scary,” Garcia said, “I checked my bag, looked around to make sure no one had put an AirTag on me,” she said. She tried to force the tracker to sound the alarm, but the Find My app just said “AirTag not reachable.”

So what should you do if you are bombarded with fake notifications? Should you turn off the notifications? Not all of them, says John DeCarlo, director of the criminal justice master’s program at the University of New Haven and former police chief in Branford, Conn. “Getting false alarms with technology is common,” DeCarlo said. “If you turn off the notifications, you don’t get any benefits.”

If the false alerts are from a bug, it’s up to Apple to try and eradicate them to prevent users from feeling like an unseen stalker is constantly watching them, even if it isn’t true at all.

It just reveals how sad the world is as a device meant to help people find missing items becomes a scary product used to attack people minding their own business.

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