Can I Track My Boyfriend With AirTag?

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Written By Dinu Sri

Dr H. T. D. S. Madusanka is an electronic expert with 10 years of experience, involved in the research and development of SMART HOME systems.

Yes, it is technically possible to track your boyfriend using an Apple AirTag, but only if he consents to being tracked. The article discusses the step-by-step process of purchasing an AirTag, setting it up, attaching it to your boyfriend’s belongings, and then sharing the data so both parties can view the location in Apple’s ‘Find My’ app. However, tracking someone without their consent raises major privacy concerns and may even be illegal depending on where you live. The article further explores alternatives to AirTag, how to detect if you’re being tracked by an AirTag, preventative measures against unwanted tracking, and the complex legal landscape surrounding tracking individuals without consent. Key topics covered include methods for identifying AirTags tracking you, utilizing Bluetooth apps to scan for signals, techniques to avoid being tracked like inspecting belongings and maintaining awareness, and the importance of consent in most jurisdictions.

Apple AirTag next to an iPhone displaying the 'Find My' app.

How to Track Your Boyfriend with AirTag?

AirTag, a small, round device created by Apple, is primarily designed to help individuals track their lost or misplaced items. The AirTag can be attached to objects like keys, wallets, or backpacks, and its location can be tracked via Apple’s ‘Find My’ app. However, some people may wonder if it can be used to track individuals. Technically, it’s possible to track someone with their consent by sharing the AirTag data through the ‘Find My’ app on iPhone.

Here’s a more detailed process on how you could do it:

1. Purchasing an AirTag:

Acquire an AirTag from an authorized Apple retailer or through the official Apple website.Each AirTag has a unique identifier that will be associated with your Apple ID once it’s set up.

2. Setting up the AirTag:

Turn on your iPhone and open the ‘Find My’ app.Follow the on-screen instructions to set up the AirTag and associate it with your Apple ID.

3. Attaching the AirTag:

Attach the AirTag to an item your boyfriend frequently carries, like his keys or a backpack.It’s crucial that the AirTag is placed in a spot where it can remain undisturbed to ensure accurate tracking.

4. Sharing the AirTag:

To share the AirTag with your boyfriend, open the ‘Find My’ app on your iPhone.Tap on ‘Items’, then select the AirTag you wish to share.Tap ‘Add Person’, and enter your boyfriend’s Apple ID.Your boyfriend will need to accept the sharing invitation on his device​.

5. Tracking the AirTag:

Once the AirTag is shared, you and your boyfriend can view its location in the ‘Find My’ app.The app will display the AirTag’s current location or its last known location if it’s out of range.

It’s important to stress that using an AirTag to track someone without their consent could be considered an invasion of privacy and possibly illegal depending on the jurisdiction.

Alternatives to AirTag for Tracking Your Boyfriend

If you are looking for alternatives to AirTag for tracking purposes, there are several other Bluetooth-based tracking devices available in the market.

Here are some of them:

Tile Trackers: Tile offers a range of trackers including Tile Pro, Tile Slim, Tile Mate, and Tile Sticker.Each of these trackers has its own unique features, size, and range capabilities.Similar to AirTag, Tile trackers can be shared with other individuals through the Tile app, allowing both parties to track the location of the Tile.

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag: Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag is a viable alternative for Android users.It works similarly to AirTag, but is integrated within Samsung’s SmartThings Find service​.

Chipolo One: Chipolo One is another alternative with a no subscription model and a 2-year battery life.It can be attached to keys, bags, or other items and tracked via the Chipolo app​​.These alternatives provide similar tracking capabilities to AirTag and could be used in a consensual tracking scenario.

Collage of alternative tracking devices: Tile Trackers, Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, and Chipolo One.

How to Know If You Are Being Tracked with AirTag?

Apple has put in measures to prevent unwanted tracking using AirTags. If an unknown AirTag is traveling with you, and you are using an iPhone (iOS 14.5 or newer), you will receive a notification.

Here’s more on how to identify and respond to potential AirTag tracking:

iPhone Notifications: If an unknown AirTag is detected moving with you, your iPhone will notify you. Tapping the notification will show a map indicating when the AirTag was first detected with you. You can then make the AirTag play a sound to locate it​.

Bluetooth Scanner Apps: Download a Bluetooth scanner app like BLE Scanner 4.0 from the App Store or Google Play. Launch the app and use the mapping feature to sort Bluetooth signals by distance to identify if an AirTag is near you​​.

Physical Inspection: Regularly check your belongings for any unfamiliar objects, especially if you suspect you may be being tracked. Look for small, round devices attached to your belongings or hidden in pockets.

Person inspecting their bag for hidden AirTag with a smartphone displaying an unknown AirTag notification

These methods can help you identify if an AirTag is being used to track you and take the necessary steps to remove or report the device.

How to Prevent Being Tracked by an AirTag?

Preventing unwanted tracking via AirTag primarily involves being vigilant and employing certain technological aids.

Here are some detailed steps and methods to ensure you aren’t being tracked by an AirTag:

Regular Inspections: Make a habit of checking your belongings for any unfamiliar objects, especially if you’re attending public gatherings or have been in crowded places.Look for small, round devices that could be hidden in pockets, bags, or attached to your vehicle.

Utilize Bluetooth Scanner Apps: Download and install Bluetooth scanner applications like BLE Scanner 4.0 from the App Store or Google Play.These apps can scan for nearby Bluetooth signals. Launch the app and use its mapping feature to sort Bluetooth signals by distance to identify if an AirTag is near you​.

Maintain Awareness: Be aware of your surroundings, and if you notice someone acting suspiciously or attempting to get close to your belongings without a reason, be cautious.Consider the context and the environment you are in, and if necessary, alert security personnel or law enforcement.

Educate Yourself and Others: Stay informed about how AirTags and similar tracking devices work.Educate your friends and family on how to detect and prevent unwanted tracking.By adhering to these practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of being tracked by an AirTag or similar tracking devices.

Is It Legal to Track Someone with AirTag Without Their Consent?

The legality of tracking someone without their consent using AirTag or similar devices varies significantly across different jurisdictions.

Here’s a deeper dive into the legal landscape surrounding non-consensual tracking:

Consent is Key: The fundamental principle in most jurisdictions is that consent is required to track someone’s movements. When you purchase an AirTag and attach it to your belongings, you are essentially consenting to be tracked. However, using it to track someone else’s movements without their consent could be unlawful​​.

Legislative Measures: Some regions have enacted laws to address the issue of non-consensual tracking. For instance, New Jersey’s Assembly Bill 1549 prohibits the use of a device to track any person without their consent, with violations punishable by up to 18 months in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both​​.

Apple’s Stance: Apple discourages the use of AirTags for tracking individuals without their consent and has implemented features to alert individuals if they are being tracked by an AirTag.During the AirTag setup, new privacy warnings are issued, disclosing that using AirTags to track individuals without consent is a crime in many parts of the world​​.

Legal Recourse: If you suspect you’re being tracked without consent, documenting evidence and contacting law enforcement is a recommended course of action. Additionally, understanding your local laws and regulations regarding privacy and tracking can help you better navigate such situations and take appropriate legal action if necessary. This intricate legal framework surrounding AirTags and similar devices underscores the importance of consent and awareness of local laws when considering tracking individuals.