Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader says that she was tracked by an unknown AirTag and wasn’t aware until her iPhone warned her of the fact.
This isn’t the first time that an AirTag has been used to track someone without their knowledge, but this is probably the most high-profile incident yet. Nader says that she was at a restaurant in Manhatten when she believes someone slipped the AirTag into her coat pocket after leaving it on a chair. It was five hours before her iPhone alerted her that she had an AirTag traveling with her.
From Sports Illustrated:
“I was at a restaurant/bar in Tribeca waiting on someone alone and had my coat on the chair behind me,” she said in an Instagram story video. “Then I went to meet some girlfriends at a bar nearby. I didn’t get any notifications. Then I went to the next spot, no notifications. Then, stupidly, I was walking home alone because I live in the neighborhood. Around 11:30 p.m., I was already on my walk home when I got the notifications that said someone is tracking you and has been for a while. So I freaked out. And then, of course, my phone died. So, my man was freaking out.”
Thankfully the AirTag and iPhone combo worked as they should and Nader received a notification warning her of the tracker’s presence. The five-hour gap is the main issue here, something that could well be explained by the fact she was in crowded places and the iPhone wasn’t able to discern that the AirTag was on her person, not in someone else’s pocket. It’s possible it only alerted her when she was alone because that was when the AirTag had to be with her.
Of course, the fact the iPhone sent an alert as it should and a possible explanation for the delay in notification won’t help allay fears that AirTags can be used in this way, nor should it. Other trackers could be used in a similar way, but the ubiquity of iPhones means that AirTags are more likely to provide an accurate location. And while Tile and other companies have sold trackers for years, Apple’s entry into the market has undoubtedly made such devices more high profile — and horrible people are beginning to learn how they could misuse them.