When the AirTag was launched, there was widespread concern regarding its misuse to stalk people and track packages. To address these concerns, Apple released a Personal Safety User Guide detailing the safety features built into the device. Moreover, AirTags will beep if they’re moved away from their iPhone owners for a specific period of time. However, some merchants have found a way to tamper with AirTags to disable the speakers, and have been selling the modified device on eBay and Etsy.
The product, called “Silent AirTag,” was listed on Etsy for $77.50, but was later pulled from the store. The seller, “JTEE3D,” claimed that the device was strikingly similar to the regular AirTag, with the exception of a hole cut under its battery to disconnect the speaker. Nearly 500 Silent AirTags were sold before the listing went offline.
Etsy Seller Speaks Out
The Etsy seller JTEE3D released a statement to PCMag, explaining why the product was made.
The intent of this modification was to cater to the several requests of buyers interested in my other AirTag product who were interested in fitting an AirTag to their bikes, pets and power tools. These requests led me to listing it as a product on Etsy, albeit without a great deal of traction. The vast majority of sales shown on my Etsy profile are from sales on my modified slim AirTag, designed to unobtrusively fit inside a purse or wallet.
The merchant added that he listed the product without thinking of the consequences and finally decided to pull it from the store as the cons outweighed the pros.
While I believe there to be many positive uses for this product, there are some negatives, that I’m now aware of, that can’t be outweighed by any positive. In light of this, I have removed my listing from Etsy. I’m not affiliated with any other listings of silent AirTags.
A listing for Silent AirTags was also found on eBay, which was pulled down.
The vast majority of people use AirTags to locate lost items. Disabling the speaker which helps find the object makes littles sense for someone using it for legitimate purposes, unless the beeping sound annoys you. Even then, removing the speaker defeats the purpose of a tracking device. Although Silent AirTags have been unlisted from online stores, anyone can recreate the same with guides that are easily available online. Perhaps Apple could build a failsafe that renders AirTags unusable if its body is tampered with.
What do you think Apple should do, if anything? Let us know in the comments.[Via PCMag]