What are Apple AirTags? Ways to tell if your car is being tracked

With news that some car thieves are turning to a new cheap Apple product to steal high-end vehicles, you might want to know more information about what exactly Apple AirTags are and how they work.

First the background.

Police in Canada have warned five cases of thefts that are related to the small hidden GPS tracking devices being put on high-end vehicles.

And most recently, a Michigan man found an Apple AirTag on his Dodge Charger that he had just purchased.

The thieves track the target vehicle and then pick the best time to try to steal it, whether it is parked in front of someone's house or in a shopping mall parking lot. 

What is Apple AirTag used for?

Apple AirTags are coin-sized devices that can be attached to keys, backpacks, purses, and other items to help people track them down via iPhone if they’re misplaced.  They went on the market in April 2021.  They require an iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) with iOS 14.5 or later, or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad mini 4 or later iPhone to be on iOS 14.5.

Are Apple AirTags GPS trackers?

You can technically use an Apple AirTag as a GPS tracker in your car, however, don’t expect it to give you real-time and accurate updates like a genuine GPS tracker according to Motorbiscuit.

How much are the AirTags?

According to the Apple website, the products retail starting at $29 for a base model.  They currently can be engraved to personalize them at no cost.  For people with bigger budgets, there are Apple AirTag Hermès products that rand from $299 to $449.

How far does AirTag work?

If your Apple AirTag is nearby, your iPhone can lead you straight to it with what Apple called Precision Finding.  You can see the distance to your Apple AirTag and the direction to head in to get to the object it is attached to.  While the company has not released an exact range for the product, technology blogs have said that they use Bluetooth 5.0, which means it should be trackable within 800 feet.

How long does an AirTag battery last?

Apple says the AirTag is designed to keep going more than a year on a standard battery.  The battery is replaceable and your iPhone will let you know when it's time to replace it.

How to find an Apple AirTag on your car

Apple AirTags use Bluetooth signals so that Apple devices can locate them.  You can use a simple Bluetooth tracker for iOS to scan the area around you to see if an Apple AirTag is nearby, according to MacWorld.