Lawsuit over Apple AirTag stalking claims can proceed, judge rules

A class-action lawsuit against Apple claiming stalkers are using its AirTag devices to track their victims can move forward after the company’s motion to dismiss the case fully was denied Friday by a judge in San Francisco, according to court documents. 

Over three dozen women and men who filed the lawsuit in 2022 claim Apple ignored warnings about how the devices could be used for stalking before they were released and its alleged failure to mitigate the dangers of the AirTags makes them responsible for the misconduct under California law. 

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Friday that three of the plaintiffs can proceed with their claims, dismissing the others in a separate ruling. 

“Apple may ultimately be right that California law did not require it to do more to diminish the ability of stalkers to use AirTags effectively, but that determination cannot be made at this early stage,” the judge wrote in the decision. 

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said AirTags have “revolutionized the scope, breadth, and ease of location-based stalking.”

The small device was launched by Apple in 2021 as a means to keep track of things like keys and purses through users’ phones and Bluetooth technology. But the accuracy, ease of use and affordability of the devices is exactly what the plaintiffs say makes it so dangerous and so easy for stalkers to use.

While Apple has added more safety features for the devices over time, the plaintiffs argue it’s not enough or the features have defects. 

“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” Apple said in a 2022 statement regarding the safety of the device. “Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously in the design of AirTag.”

A spokesperson for Apple did not reply to Scripps News’ request for comment on the case. 

A similar lawsuit was filed in 2023 against Tile, its parent company Life360 and its business partner Amazon regarding the safety of its Tile Tracker devices.