Canadian police find a new use for AirTags that Apple will never promote

Canadian police find a new use for AirTags that Apple will never promote
In Canada, a new use has been discovered for Apple's item tracking AirTags although it isn't something that you'll see Apple advertising. A press release from the York Regional Police (via Cult of Mac) warns residents that they have discovered "a new method being used by thieves to track and steal high-end vehicles across York Region." Starting in September, the York Regional Police investigated the use of small tracking devices on high-end vehicles that were placed there to help thieves locate and steal a car they spotted earlier in the day.

The cops say that brand name "AirTags" are placed in out-of-sight locations on high-end automobiles that are parked in high-traffic areas like malls or parking lots. The vehicles are then tracked back to the owners' residences from where they are stolen right from the driveway. The thieves use a screwdriver to enter a targeted car via the driver or passenger door.

Once they are inside the car, the thieves deploy an electronic diagnostic device like the kind your friendly mechanic uses. With this device, the car thieves adjust the settings to allow the car to accept a key that they have brought with them. Once this is done, the bad guys get in the car and simply drive away.

The York Police have some suggestions which apply whether you live in Canada, the U.S., or anywhere really. Park your vehicle in a locked garage as most vehicles are stolen from a driveway. A steering wheel lock makes a good public deterrent so you should buy one.

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Putting a lock on the data port prevents the thieves from getting to the computer port where they reprogram the keys. The cops also suggest the purchase of a home video surveillance system like the Ring. Make sure the camera is set to monitor your car both day and night, and call the police if you spot anything suspicious. The current version of iOS being tested by Apple, iOS 15.2, will manually track for AirTags that don't belong to you.

This new feature is supposed to help you find items that other AirTag users have lost so that you can return them to their owners. But it also can be used to find AirTags that are tracking your location or even the location of your car. If an AirTag spends over 24 hours away from its owner, it emits a warning alert. So if you do spot an AirTag hidden in your car, be alert because within 24 hours you might find unwanted visitors around your driveway.

AirTags are supposed to be used to track items like your keys, dogs, bicycles, and more. Anything you can attach an AirTag to via key ring or loop can be tracked using the FindMy app. If you have an iPhone 11 or later, or the Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch Series 7, the U1 chip inside these devices can give you precise directions to an AirTag.

The AirTag has a possibility of becoming a big moneymaker for Apple. Each tag is priced at $29 and a pack of four will cost you $99. And that doesn't include accessories like a $35 leather key ring or a $39 loop. If you have the big bucks, you can nestle your AirTag into a $449 Hermès Luggage Tag. The most reasonably priced holder is Belkin's secure holder with a key ring which will set you back $12.95.

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