Apple’s Tracking Device is Surprisingly Private


Kian Pfannenstiel, Editor

AirTags, one of Apple’s new products, seems like disasters waiting to happen. It’s a device whose whole purpose is to track the locations of things you put it on, which we all know Google would use to track us and sell to third parties to turn a quick and immoral profit. Furthermore, people could use it to track other people (consider trafficking, an industry that could benefit greatly from a readily available tracking bug). Apple, on the other hand, has announced that they’re doing everything in their power to guarantee the safety and security of its users by protecting these devices and having safety features built in to prevent these ill omens from ever befalling their customers.

First off, preventing the tracking of the devices, including tracking by Apple itself, the AirTag has absolutely no data storage in itself to keep records of where it has been and, what’s more, its transmitted data is encrypted in from the device itself to the receiving device, meaning the AirTag encrypts all of its data such that only the owner’s device will be able to decrypt the location of the AirTag. Thus, location data can only be accessed by the individual whose device is being tracked, not by Apple nor any ne’er-do-wells who’d interest themselves in other folk’s location data.

To prevent said ne’er-do-wells from tracking other people with AirTags of their own, Apple devices will be able to detect AirTags travelling with them from place to place and will alert their owners. Even if you don’t have any iOS products, the missing AirTag that was separated from its iOS device for too long will make itself known with a loud beeping noise. Once the device has been located, it can be paired with any NFC (Near Field Communication) compatible device (including most modern cell phones) and will give instructions to dispose of the device.

While I don’t personally support many of Apple’s business practices, particularly with their exclusivity, and I don’t like their products for what they are either, it is both pleasing and refreshing to see a tech industry giant look out for its users and go to great lengths to protect their privacy and personal data.

Find all of the details of the AirTag, including its security and privacy details, in its announcement at the apple website.