Apple has confirmed that some people are suffering from phantom AirTag alerts, causing them to look for trackers that don’t exist. The issue is caused by a system that is supposed to ensure that people aren’t stalked by someone using an AirTag.
When an unknown AirTag is following someone, they receive an alert on their Iphone to warn them. But some in recent weeks have reported receiving those notifications and being unable to find an AirTag — causing confusion and worry.
Now, a Wall Street Journal report notes why that might be.
The maps on phantom AirTag alerts share a similar pattern: straight red lines radiating out from the user’s location. If an AirTag were in motion (perhaps flying?) along these paths, it would be crossing in the middle of city streets, passing through construction zones, even penetrating walls.
Apple offers a slight potential fix for this, although it isn’t ideal. And it also notes that some false positives might just be the norm in highly populated areas.
An Apple spokesman said that such alerts could have resulted from an iPhone receiving area Wi-Fi signals that temporarily confused its location services. A potential fix would be to go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and toggle the switch off and on while Wi-Fi is enabled on the iPhone. He also said that in more densely populated areas, AirTags owned by others nearby could inadvertently trigger unwanted alerts.
Apple’s AirTags have been used by people trying to stalk others while they’ve even been attached to cars that were later intended to be stolen. While other item trackers can be used for the same thing, AirTags are more accurate and much more high profile.
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