When Apple announced AirTag it very much leaned into the tracker being used to find things that have been lost. That makes sense. After all, it’s how other Bluetooth trackers have been marketed as well. But even Apple must have known that people would use them for things that could be stolen, too. Sometimes both.
The humble wallet is a great example of something that can both be lost and stolen, and you might expect an AirTag to help in both scenarios. But as people are already finding, it isn’t as simple as that. Mainly because thieves already know what an AirTag looks like and, as soon as they spy it anywhere near their ill-gotten gains, it’ll be tossed away.
Over to a Redditor, whose name I can’t put here, telling their tale of woe. The AirTag did its job and directed its owner to the spot where it was discarded, sans wallet:
The culprit eventually switched trains and then the Airtags stopped at a station. Me being the hopeful fool I was, went into the train station, and used the “Find” feature and eventually, I did indeed find the Airtag; just not the wallet. I guess the thief figured out what it was and tossed it into the subway tracks, where it still remains right now.
That’s going to be a common story, too. In fact …
Urgh, Ellie had her wallet stolen yesterday from the house – door had been left on latch by painter and someone opportunistically grabbed it from inside. Caught on CCTV.
We had an AirTag in the wallet, found that 100m down the road in a bush but no sign of wallet. Frustrating!
— Neil Inglis (@neilinglis) May 25, 2021
So, yeah. AirTags are great for things that we lose but not things that we might have stolen. That is, unless there’s some way to make sure the AirTag isn’t seen or can’t be removed. Maybe we’ll see a new line of bags that have secret compartments in them or wallets that have an AirTag built into them in such a way that they can’t removed.
This is, of course, a problem that all Bluetooth trackers have to contend with. Tile makes some trackers that are designed to slide into the card area of a wallet, but they’re chunks of black plastic with a button and the Tile logo – no thief is going to mistake that for a credit card.
Maybe we need Apple to build an AirTag into Apple Card, somehow. There, I fixed it.
For now, feel free to put an AirTag wherever you want. Just don’t expect it to save the day if something get stolen, unfortunately.
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