Update (June 20): Despite continuing safety concerns, Apple could end up making an AirTag 2 if it continues to sell well.
An Apple AirTag has reportedly been used by an Indiana woman to track down her boyfriend and, after a dispute, kill him. This appears to be the first death related to AirTag use.
USA Today (opens in new tab) reported that in an affidavit it obtained, 26-year-old Gaylyn Morris told a witness that she used the tracking capabilities of an AirTag to follow her boyfriend, 26-year-old Andre Smith, to an Indianapolis bar. Having found Smith, the couple engaged in a heated argument, with Morris reportedly swinging an empty wine bottle at a woman Smith was with at the time.
This led to the bar owner asking the three to leave, and then according to the court records seen by USA Today, Morris got into her car, which was parked outside, and clipped Smith with it. He fell to the ground, and Morris then "backed over Smith, then pulled forward and hit him for a third time."
Smith was later pronounced dead at the scene, while Morris was detained by the police after she left the car and chased after the woman Smith was with.
According to the Indianapolis Star (opens in new tab), Morris was latter charged with murder. As such, this is the first reported incident of both a death and murder charge being linked to the ability of AirTags to be used to track people.
Apple’s intended use of AirTags has been for users to keep track of their objects, say a keys, handbag or even a bicycle. Using AirTags in conjunction with an iPhone allows users to track down the objects the tags are attached to should they be misplaced, or in some cases stolen.
However, there have been a swathe of reports that have seen AirTags used for darker purposes, specifically the tracking and subsequent stalking of people who may be unaware that they are carrying an AirTag or have one with them.
Apple has made changes to try to make the AirTags safer and to thwart would-be stalkers. Updates include proactive alerts if an unknown AirTag is traveling with you, launching an Android app that notifies users of AirTags, and shortening the time window of when an AirTag chimes if it’s been separated from its owner from three days to between 8 and 24 hours. The alert chimes have also been recently boosted when an AirTag gets detected by an unpaired iPhone.
But as this incident indicates, there’s clearly some work that needs to be done to make sure AirTags are used for tracking objects and not people. How Apple will be able to make that distinction remains unclear. And removing the chance that such tech could be used for unsavory purposes seems to be a problem without a solution at the moment.
In fact, this has had our global editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer to declare that it's time to pause sales of Apple AirTags, as he argued that they are too dangerous to exist in its current form. If you are worried about such insidious tracking, then here's how to tell if an AirTag is stalking you.