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What does ‘Unknown accessory detected near you’ mean?

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Apple’s Airtags are one of the best and most consumer-friendly tracking devices on the market. However, being a tracking device also makes them open to malicious use as anyone could just tape an Airtag to something they want to track. 

Luckily, Apple has built-in protections for stalking with Airtags and sends users notifications if an unidentified Airtag is following them around. With Apple’s Find My network now open to third-party devices as well, this opens up more possibilities for stalking and unknown tracking. In this article, we’re talking about the “unknown accessory detected near you” notification on your iPhone and telling you everything you need to know. 

Also read: Are Airtags waterproof? Tips to dry them

What is an “unknown accessory”?

An “unknown accessory” in this case is a device compatible with the Find My network that’s following you around. In such cases, the device owner might be able to see its location, revealing your location as well. When you receive such a notification, immediately check your surroundings and any bags you’re carrying for a tracking device or any other device that’s otherwise compatible with the Find My network. 

In case an Airtag has been planted on you, the tag itself will try to inform you of its location using its in-built speakers. However, this doesn’t always work as the speaker can be disabled or removed from the Airtag. Despite this, you will still see a notification on your iPhone that an Airtag is following you around. 

You can tap the notification to open the Find My app and check the last known location of the device. If you’ve moved away from it, chances are the notification came a bit too late but now you’re not being tracked. However, if the device’s location has been updated recently and is relatively close to you, you might be getting tracked in real-time. 

What to do in such situations?

The best thing you can do is to look around and check your surroundings as well as any bags you’re carrying for another Airtag, Airpods or any other third-party tracking device that might be compatible with the Find My network. When you do, ditch the device and you’ll be good to go. 

You can interact with the “unknown accessory detected” notification to find the device as well. Depending on the type of device, you might be able to locate it or even disable tracking on the device altogether. 

Also read: AirPods connected but sound coming from phone: Quick Fix

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: