Apple’s AirTags have been sending “ghost” alerts that are confusing iPhone users, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. The AirTags, which launched last year, feature anti-harassment measures that are designed to alert users when an unknown AirTag is detected on their person for an extended period of time. The idea is to discourage the use of AirTags to track people without their consent.
The WSJ reports that these false alerts usually occur in the middle of the night and have started to appear in recent weeks. When a person receives an unknown AirTag alert, he is supposed to see an attached map showing where and for how long the AirTag was detected on his person. However, these false alarms are accompanied by maps showing various straight lines leading from a person’s location. If you have ever seen an unknown AirTag alert, this is very unusual and seems to indicate a system error.
It’s not clear how prevalent this particular false alert is, though this isn’t the only type of false alarm a person may experience. While testing AirTag’s security features, I was repeatedly notified that my own AirTag was stalking me. Several users have reported a similar experience on Reddit and other social networks. Similarly, other users have reported seeing confusing alerts triggered by their AirPods, an issue that Apple addressed in a recent update to better differentiate alerts triggered by various accessories.
In it WSJ report, users say the alerts make them nervous, especially when they can’t seem to find any AirTags on their person. In one case, a user said that he could not force the so-called unknown AirTag to play a sound and the FindMy app said that the AirTag was not available. This also happened in my tests several times even though the AirTag in question was only a few inches away.
Following multiple reports of unwanted harassment earlier this year, Apple said in February that it intended to make unknown AirTags alert people sooner and emphasize louder tones in sound alerts. Apple is currently rolling out an AirTags update for the latter in a firmware update labeled 1.0.301.
during a recent Edge In the investigation, domestic violence experts said too many false alarms could be dangerous, as users can become desensitized to AirTag alerts meant to keep them safe. However, they also stressed that there are design challenges that need to be addressed. While experts agree that the current notification window is not adequate, making it too short can also unnecessarily scare people who are not being tracked. This is because the AirTags still need to be able to identify whether they have been placed on a person or are simply in close proximity to that person. It would seem that this recent round of phantom alerts is proving that concerns about false alarms are justified.