Apple AirTag trackers with their speakers deactivated are beginning to appear on marketplaces such as eBay, while their sellers stress they are not intended for stalking.
When detached from their attached iPhone, AirTags is supposed to beep, but some merchants appear to be selling trackers with disconnected speakers.
One item for sale on Etsy was a “Silent AirTag” for $77.50. That listing has subsequently been withdrawn, and the vendor has responded to PCMag.
“The goal of this modification was to accommodate to the numerous demands of purchasers interested in my other AirTag product who wanted to put an AirTag to their bikes, pets, and power tools,” the seller stated.
“These demands prompted me to list it as a product on Etsy, but with little success. The great majority of sales on my Etsy profile are for my modified slim AirTag, which is meant to fit unobtrusively inside a pocketbook or wallet.”
Another eBay listing that was removed said that the disconnected speaker “reduces the risk of a thief being notified of its secret location.”
Some privacy and security professionals were disturbed by the modified hardware, including Eva Galperin, cybersecurity director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Although AirTags has been claimed to be used to curb theft, the Apple tracking devices have also been reported to be used for stalking.
In January, for example, a Sports Illustrated model was stalked with an AirTag for hours in New York City.
According to a report published on Wednesday, a Connecticut man was charged with stalking after police observed her attempting to install an AirTag on a car.
AirTags, unlike other trackers on the market, contain anti-stalking mechanisms such as the aforementioned beeping and automatic notifications if an unwanted AirTag is following the user.
Apple has also released a personal safety guide that includes tips on how to be safe while using AirTags and other devices.