According to recent statistics from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, there were an estimated 67,000 incidents of vehicle theft in England and Wales in the year ending June 2021.
This represents a 21% increase compared to the previous year and the highest level since 2008.
Given this alarming rise in car theft, it’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to protect their vehicles.
One technology that has been getting a lot of attention lately is Apple’s AirTag. But can it really be used as a car tracker?
The short answer is yes; technically, it can. However, it’s important to note that the AirTag is most effective in the first few hours after your car has been stolen. Here’s why:
Apple introduced the AirTag in April 2021 with the primary purpose of helping people keep track of easily misplaced items like keys and wallets.
The AirTag is a small, circular token, about the size of a 10p piece, that can be attached to an item or hidden within it.
By using Bluetooth connection or Ultra Wideband technology, it can be tracked using Apple’s ‘Find My’ network on an iPhone.
While the AirTag was not explicitly designed for use as a car tracker, it can certainly be used as one.
With car theft on the rise, it’s essential to utilise whatever technology we can to protect our possessions.
By attaching an AirTag to your car, you can locate it if it’s stolen. However, the effectiveness of the AirTag as a car tracker is limited by several factors.
Firstly, the battery in a new AirTag lasts about a year, and it’s crucial to ensure that the AirTag is in range of your iPhone’s Bluetooth connection. This means that the range is limited to about 30 meters.
However, the AirTag also utilises Apple’s ‘Find My’ network, which can help locate the AirTag and the car, even if it’s further away.
One of the potential concerns when the AirTag was first released, was around potential stalking incidents. However, Apple has taken steps to address these concerns.
If someone places an AirTag into the coat pocket or bag of someone else, that person would be notified if the AirTag is in constant range of their iPhone for an extended period (around 24 to 72 hours).
The AirTag would also begin to emit a noise after a while, alerting the person to the presence of the AirTag. This is an important safety measure to address issues of stalking.
In the case of a stolen car, the thief (assuming they had an iPhone) would get a notification that they were in contact range of an AirTag that wasn’t theirs.
This would be their first indication that something was amiss, and they would start a hunt for it. If they couldn’t find it visually, the AirTag would eventually begin to make a noise, making it much simpler to find.
Furthermore, if the thief had one of the latest iPhones (11 or later), they could find the AirTag exactly, thanks to visual cues on the iPhone that would pinpoint it to within a couple of centimetres.
This could be incredibly useful in recovering a stolen car quickly.
In the UK, car theft has increased in recent years, with certain car models being more vulnerable to theft than others.
For example, the Ford Fiesta was the most stolen car in the UK in 2020, with over 5,000 incidents reported.
Other popular models thieves targeted included the Volkswagen Golf, the Range Rover Evoque, and the Land Rover Defender.
In summary, having an AirTag in your car to use as a tracker should your car be stolen is better than having no tracking device at all, but it might only be helpful in the first 24 hours after your vehicle has been stolen.
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