A woman has described the fears she felt for her safety after she received a notification on her iPhone that an “unknown accessory” was “detected” near her and realised an AirTag seemed to be recording her locations.
In a video posted to TikTok last month, Erika Torres said that she received the notification on her iPhone about the AirTag, but that when she attempted to disable the item, her phone said that she was “unable to connect to server.” According to Torres, right away she felt that her safety was at risk.
“I instantly recognised this from all the viral TikToks I’ve seen about women finding AirTags and other tracking devices planted on their belongings or their cars,” she said in a video posted to the app.
In the clip, Torres explained that she and her boyfriend had gone to a basketball game and a bar on 10 December. In her video, she shared a map from her “Find My iPhone” app, which showed that the AirTag had tracked where they parked their car, the bar they went to, and the direction they drove to get home.
“I checked all my clothes, my belongings, my purse. I haven’t been able to find it,” she said regarding the device, adding in the video that the iPhone notification included a message at the bottom that read: “If you feel your safety is at risk due to this item, contact local law enforcement.”
According to Torres, she decided to contact police about the situation, with the TikToker revealing that the police “did literally nothing” and told her to contact them “if somebody hurts [her].”
She also contacted Apple, which informed her that it had “never seen” the “unable to connect to server” notification before. The company also told her that it would send out a request to its engineers and reach out to her again.
“I’m angry, I’m stressed, I’m worried, if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know,” she said.
The TikTok video has more than 1.1m views so far, with some of the comments calling out the police behaviour when Torres contacted them, while others have questioned the safety of AirTags.
“The response from the police is beyond disappointing,” one comment said, while someone else wrote: “Apple should discontinue its Apple AirTag.”
Torres has since shared follow-up videos on YouTube and TikTok about the incident, with the TikToker revealing in a 22 December video that Apple got back to her and said it was “just a glitch”.
Torres also spoke to The New York Times about the issue with the AirTag last month, during which she acknowledged the number of people who have made similar claims about the devices.
“The number of reports makes me think there must be some sort of glitch that is causing all these people to experience this,” Torres explained. “I hope they’re not all being stalked.”
Similar to Torres, another woman found an “unknown accessory” attached to her iPhone in November. While speaking to The Times on 30 December, Michaela Clough, from Corning, California, explained that she was notified by the device when leaving her gym and that she called the police when she got home.
Clough said that the police told her that she could only file a report if it appeared that someone had broken into her home. She contacted a representative at Apple who was able to disconnect the accessory from her phone but was unable to figure out where it was.
“I was terrified and frustrated that there was nothing I could do about it,” Clough added. “For a good week there, I just stayed home.”
As noted on Apple’s website, AirTags are designed to “discourage unwanted tracking.” However, if an AirTag “finds its way into” someone else’s belongings, it will send an alert to its owner and eventually start playing a sound.
When concerns about AirTags following people were first raised in June 2021, Apple announced an update to the AirTags, where they would play a loud alert when separated from their owners for more than eight to 24 hours. Initially, AirTags would only do this when separated for three days.
The Independent has contacted Torres for comment.