NY cops have a great idea: put an AirTag in your car

Modern problems require modern solutions – which is why you should put a tracker in your Toyota or a bug in your BMW

Apple AirTag
(Image credit: Apple)

I'm a big fan of Apple's AirTags – having them on my car keys and in my purse has saved me from a great deal of lost-things trauma. But I hadn't considered sticking one in my car, which is what the NY police are advising.

In a tweet that went viral over the weekend, the NYPD Chief of Department posted: "The 21st century calls for 21st century policing. AirTags in your car will help us recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. We’ll use our drones, our StarChase technology & good old fashion police work to safely recover your stolen car. Help us help you, get an AirTag." The NYPD is giving away 500 AirTags to anyone who wants one.

It's easy to be cynical about this – I've read countless tales of AirTag or Tile-tagged bikes that led straight to the thieves, only for the police to shrug their shoulders and head for the donut shop instead. But it is a good idea, and not just for potential car theft.

You can take your AirTag and stick it

I'm hopeless for remembering where I park my car, and while Apple Maps does a decent job of remembering when I park outside it's useless in a multi-storey or basement car park and I prefer Google Maps anyway. But an AirTag in my car would be an even better option, enabling me to make sense of what are often very confusing ranks of identical-looking spaces.

And that's got me thinking about what else I should be putting tags into. I play live shows in a band sometimes, so it might be wise to put tags on my favourite guitars, or on my pedal board, in case they get misplaced (or more likely, grabbed).

AirTags aren't a perfect solution, of course. They're supposed to notify your iPhone if there's an AirTag that isn't yours travelling with you, so in the event of car theft you'd better hope the thief is an Android user. And an AirTag is no use if it's in the middle of nowhere with no nearby Apple kit to track it. But for the relatively small cost of an AirTag or similar tracker, it strikes me as a handy thing to put in more places than I have already.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).