How to Disable the Speaker in Apple AirTags: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Jason

Disable Airtag Speaker

Apple’s AirTags, released in 2021, are small Bluetooth trackers designed to help users keep track of their belongings. However, the tracking capabilities of these devices have raised privacy concerns about potential stalking and theft.

To address these issues, AirTags are designed to make a sound after being separated from their paired iPhone for a certain amount of time. This anti-stalking measure is intended to alert people if an unknown AirTag is nearby.

However, some individuals have started selling modified AirTags with disabled speakers online, removing the audible alert and making it easier to hide an AirTag on someone without their knowledge.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover:

  • The controversies surrounding the use of AirTags for tracking people
  • How to safely disable the AirTag speaker yourself
  • The tools you’ll need
  • Step-by-step instructions for removing the speaker
  • The risks associated with using a silenced AirTag
  • Expert tips for modifying AirTags safely and legally

The Growing Controversy Around AirTags and Tracking

AirTags utilize Apple’s vast Find My network of nearly 1 billion active devices to precisely track locations. The owner of an AirTag can view its location in the Find My app on their iPhone, making AirTags far more accurate for tracking compared to competitors like Tile.

However, this has also raised concerns over safety and privacy. There have already been numerous reports of AirTags being used to:

  • Stalk people by placing an AirTag secretly in their bag or vehicle to track their location without consent
  • Steal cars by attaching AirTags to high-end vehicles to later locate and steal them

Apple has tried addressing this by making AirTags emit a sound after 8-24 hours of being away from their owner’s iPhone. However, as you’ll soon learn, this speaker can be easily disabled, making the AirTag silent, harder to detect, and more useful for illicit tracking.

How to Remove the AirTag Speaker Yourself

How To Remove The Airtag Speaker Yourself

The speaker inside each AirTag is connected to the main logic board by two contacts and a magnet. With the right tools and technique, you can open the AirTag casing and detach the speaker, permanently disabling any audible alerts or sounds from the device.

What You’ll Need

To remove the AirTag speaker yourself, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Small philips head screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Heat gun or hair dryer (optional)
  • Super glue or epoxy

You’ll also need the standard CR2032 coin cell battery that powers AirTags. Be sure to remove this battery before attempting any modifications.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to safely detach the speaker from your AirTag:

  1. Remove the AirTag battery
    • Twist off the stainless steel cover counter-clockwise
    • Remove the CR2032 battery with tweezers or your fingernail
  2. Pry open the casing
    • Wedge the screwdriver tip into the seam near the battery contacts
    • Gently pry open and detach the casing
    • Optional: Use a heat gun to soften the adhesive
  3. Locate and remove the speaker
    • The speaker unit is in the center, attached by 2 contacts
    • Gently lift the speaker contacts off the logic board with tweezers
    • Detach the magnet to fully remove the speaker
  4. Reattach the casing
    • Realign the casing and press firmly to reattach with adhesive
    • Add a small amount of glue if needed
    • Replace the battery and cover

And that’s it! Your AirTag will now be completely silenced with the speaker disabled.

Using a Silenced AirTag for Tracking

With the speaker removed, you can use the AirTag to silently track people, vehicles, or other objects. The owner will still get alerts on their paired iPhone if you move far away with it, thanks to the high accuracy of AirTags.

However, unsuspecting Android users will have no warning that a silenced AirTag is tracking them. Even iPhone users may not notice quickly without the audible alerts.

Associated Risks

Before using modified AirTags, be aware:

  • Tracking people without consent is illegal in most jurisdictions. Only use for legitimate purposes.
  • Apple may be able to remotely disable AirTags if misused.
  • Laws around tracking devices vary. Research your local regulations.
  • Only modify hardware you own. Selling silenced AirTags is likely illegal.

In summary, deactivating the AirTag speaker poses risks if misused. Carefully consider ethics and laws in your area first.

Expert Tips for Modifying AirTags

If you plan on professionally modifying and reselling silenced AirTags, follow these expert recommendations:

  • Use proper ESD precautions – AirTags are sensitive to static discharge
  • Clean casing thoroughly before reattaching – Debris can prevent proper resealing
  • Apply minimal adhesive – Too much glue overflow can prevent reassembly
  • Test modified AirTag before shipping – Confirm it still tracks accurately and isn’t constantly searching for signal
  • Provide legitimate use cases – For pets, luggage, etc. Avoid promoting unethical uses
  • Research laws in jurisdictions you ship to – Some places prohibit tracking device sales
  • Anonymize customer data – Don’t store info that could implicate buyers

Again, consult local lawyers and ethicists before selling modified trackers. While the speaker can be disabled, make sure your business practices remain on the right side of the law.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

AirTags provide unparalleled accuracy for tracking objects thanks to Apple’s robust Find My network. However, their potential for stalking and theft has generated controversy.

Although AirTags are designed to emit audible alerts, you can remove the internal speaker yourself with some simple tools and techniques. This disables any sounds, making the tracker harder to detect.

If you’re considering using muted AirTags, be cautious:

  • Tracking people without consent violates privacy and is illegal in many places. Only use ethically and legally.
  • Apple may be able to remotely brick silenced AirTags being misused.
  • Thoroughly research local laws and ethical concerns first before modifying hardware you own or selling it.

With great power comes great responsibility. While AirTags can be silenced, make sure you’re still giving people the respect and privacy they deserve.

FAQ

Why is my AirTag beeping? AirTags start beeping after being separated from their paired iPhone for 8-24 hours as an anti-stalking measure. If your AirTag is beeping unexpectedly, it likely means it’s out of Bluetooth range of your phone.

Do AirTags need to be charged? No, AirTags use a standard CR2032 coin cell battery that lasts about 1 year before needing replacement.

What’s the best place to hide an AirTag in a car? Experts recommend placing AirTags in hidden, interior spots like under seats or inside the trunk to track vehicles. Just be sure to use them ethically and legally.

Can AirTags be found if hidden in a car? Yes, using an iPhone’s Precision Finding feature, you can actively scan a vehicle to locate any hidden AirTags emitting a sound. Android users can download Apple’s Tracker Detect app to scan for tags.

Are AirTags waterproof? AirTags have an IP67 water resistance rating, meaning they can withstand being submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. So they are waterproof for short periods, like tracking water bottles.

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