It's happened to the best of us. You're out and about, and suddenly you hear that beeping noise that can only mean one thing: you've left your AirTags at home. If this has happened to you, don't panic! Just follow these simple steps to fix the 'phantom' AirTag alert issue.
If you've been suddenly inundated with phantom AirTag alerts, you're not alone. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, an Apple spokesperson has acknowledged that some iPhones are getting ""temporarily confused"" by weak or overlapping Wi-Fi signals. The problem seems to be most acute for users who have just upgraded to iOS 11.x and is exacerbated by the fact that many stores are now using Wi-Fi signals to track customers' movements. There is a temporary fix for the first problem at least, which is to toggle location services off and then on again on the phone. If you open up the iOS Settings screen on your iPhone, you should see a banner at the top of the screen informing you about the issue. As yet we don't know if a software patch will be required to fix the issue permanently.
Analysis: a balance for Apple
Apple has long been applauded for its focus on user privacy. With the company's new AirTag feature, it looks like that focus is extending to our physical belongings as well. When you lose something with an AirTag attached, you can (anonymously and privately) enlist the help of every other iPhone on the planet to try and work out where it is. This is a really useful feature, but it also means these trackers can be marked as lost by their owners, and then used to keep tabs on someone's location (through their bag, car or coat, for example). It's a needed safeguard, but from the new report in the Wall Street Journal it appears it's not always easy to detect when an AirTag is nearby, especially in crowded urban areas. Apple will need to find a balance between privacy and detection if it wants to keep users happy and make sure our belongings are safely recovered.
Apple is currently working on a fix for the AirTag alert issue. In the meantime, users are temporarily confused about what is happening with their devices. Some are concerned about the privacy implications of AirTags, while others are just hoping for a resolution to the problem.
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