A small device that attaches to an airbag and transmits information about its deployment to the cloud? Sounds like a great idea, right? Nope. Apple’s AIRTAGS are actually dangerous and lack proper security features, despite the company’s claim that Apple cares deeply about your safety on the road and we would never do anything to knowingly put you in harm’s way. Here’s why they’re so hazardous and how Apple could fix them before they start causing accidents. Here’s why AIRTAGS aren’t safe
Why Apple shouldn’t have released AirPods
AirPods are wireless headphones. You can pop them in your ears and start listening to music without any wires getting in your way. This means they can easily fall out of your ears, and that people walking by you may accidentally yank one out of your ear. With traditional headphones, these were two major problems we had to deal with. But Apple’s new AirPods don’t seem to be up for solving them.
5 simple things Apple could do to improve their safety
First, Apple could choose to include some type of water-resistant case for those who are concerned about moisture damage. Next, adding a smart battery that automatically turns on in response to changes in pressure and temperature (similar to what iPhone has) would allow consumers a little more peace of mind that they won’t lose their data if they take off their AirPods while running or swimming.
add an LED light
All AirTags should have an LED light that can only be turned on when it is in close proximity to another beacon. This way, users know exactly where they are and can take precautions before getting within range of a dangerous product. If I’m near an airbag, for example, I need to know that there could be something dangerous nearby. Apple should consider adding lights on all of its products that use AirTags.
make the case thicker
Yes, Apple has covered many of its iPhones in a thin plastic film that claims to unlock your phone with just a touch. But unlike near-field communication (NFC) tags or RFID sensors on other phones, these AirTags aren’t actually equipped with any electronics. The film alone doesn’t unlock your phone—it only connects it to an antenna mounted nearby. That means that there is no reason for it to be made out of thin plastic.
Move into a new frequency range
If you’re going to use these tracking chips, it might be helpful to move their frequency range away from 2.4 GHz (the same as Wi-Fi) and even farther away from 5.0 GHz (the same as many microwave ovens). That way they don’t interfere with other things in your home or office. The best bet would be a frequency above 10,000 MHz so they don’t clash with most other electronics.
Add a manual shut off switch
It seems like a no-brainer: All Apple needs to do is add a manual shut off switch to their AirPods. With today’s fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle, it would be much safer to be able to turn them off manually at any time instead of having them automatically shut off when you don’t use them for some period of time.
Modify their use with iCloud
One way to reduce their risk is to disable Bluetooth on your mobile device when not in use. But even that isn’t a cure-all: There are still ways for trackers to follow you, and if hackers can remotely access your iCloud account—which is more common than you might think—they could get at any data stored there.