People have tweaked AirTags to mute the speaker and thus silence the tracker. This worries some people in view of the possible actions.
Silent AirTags are on sale
AirTags modified to make them silent are for sale on Etsy and eBay. Removing the speaker no longer allows the tracker to emit a sound and therefore signal its presence. Some could take advantage of such a product to track a person without their knowledge, without ever being warned by a sound.
One of the sellers on Etsy has decided to stop selling the accessory. He explains to PCMag:
The intent of this modification was to address several requests from buyers interested in my other AirTag product, who wanted to install an AirTag on their bikes, pets, and power tools. These requests led me to put it up for sale on Etsy, but without much success. The vast majority of sales shown on my Etsy profile are from my modified slim AirTag, designed to slip discreetly into a purse or wallet.
An eBay seller said the purpose of the silent AirTag was to make sure it “does not continue to beep when it is away from you”, for example “if left in a car or bicycle or with a family member”. The silent AirTag is also supposed “reduce the risk that a thief will be informed of his hidden location”. Currently, Apple’s object tracker starts beeping between 8 and 24 hours after being separated from its owner to report its location.
Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), sharedof his concern about the market for modified AirTags that have the speaker disabled. She adds : “Anything that can catch a thief in this way is also a perfect tool for tracking. That’s why Apple advertises them as tools for tracking lost items, not stolen items..
Apple recently released a guide for users specifically related to AirTags and privacy. This follows several cases that have appeared in the press.