Say what you want about the AirTag, but the device would have been a perfect tracker if it weren’t for its ugly side (the one that allows people with nefarious plans to use it for horrible purposes).
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Rialto Police
The latest case when the AirTag saved the day happened in Rialto, California, where Apple’s tracker provided the police officers with essential location information for a stolen golf cart.
The Rialto Police Department recently shared the story on Instagram, revealing that the AirTag was planted into the golf cart and was used by the police officers to determine its location.
It all started when a security guard at the Rialto Marketplace Shopping Mall parked the golf cart before ending their shift. When his colleague started their shift, they couldn’t find the golf cart. After watching footage from the surveillance cameras, the security guards spotted a male driving the golf cart away from the shopping center.
They alerted the local police, with the officers responding to the case obtaining information from the AirTag planted inside the vehicle. The golf cart was tracked down in the area of N. Meridian Avenue and W. San Bernardino Avenue in the City of Colton. They rushed to the provided location and started the search for the vehicle.
They eventually found the golf cart and the suspect, using the video surveillance recordings to check if they had a match. The 44-year-old suspect was taken into custody and is now facing several charges, including vehicle theft.
Apple’s AirTag uses a pill-shaped form factor, communicating with the master iPhone using the Find My network. The AirTag doesn’t sport built-in Internet connectivity but connects to nearby iPhones to stream its location. As a result, the only way to find an AirTag is with an iPhone in proximity; otherwise, the device will wait for a connection to an Apple smartphone before it can reveal its location in the Find My app.
Thanks to the replaceable CR2032 battery, the AirTag benefits from a six-month per unit autonomy. It means the device can remain planted in a hidden place and share its location for half a year without a recharge.
Apple is already working on the second-generation AirTag, but the launch won’t take place sooner than 2025. People with knowledge of the matter said the AirTag 2 could offer improved battery life and better precision. However, the iPhone maker allegedly wants to clear out the AirTag inventory before taking the wraps off the new model. The first generation still sells well, and Apple doesn’t consider the launch of the second generation a priority, especially as the features integrated into the first model serve their purpose without a pressing need for updates.
Apple has never commented on rumors regarding the AirTag 2.