‘I was terrified’ – Irish actress sues Apple after stalker tracks her using AirTag

Irish Actress Áine O’Neill is involved in a class action lawsuit in the US claiming Apple AirTags are being used by stalkers.
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.26 10 Apr 2024

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‘I was terrified’ – Irish actr...

‘I was terrified’ – Irish actress sues Apple after stalker tracks her using AirTag

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.26 10 Apr 2024

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An Irishwoman who is suing Apple after a stalker allegedly used one of its AirTag devices to track her movements has said her “whole life was taken away” by the terrifying experience.

Actress Áine O’Neill is one of three people involved in a class action lawsuit against the US tech giant in California.

There were originally 38 people involved in the lawsuit claiming stalkers were using the devices to track them; however, the US courts last month dismissed 35 of them, clearing Áine’s to proceed alongside two others.


On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the Dubliner moved to California to pursue a career in film and television in 2021, told reporter Barry Whyte about the night she learned there was a suspicious AirTag in her car.

She said she got a notification on her phone to say the “owner of an air tag has your location” and at first, she assumed there was an innocent explanation.

After searching for the tag in her house, she went out to her car and by making the tag play a sound, she discovered that it was somewhere underneath the car.

“It was kind of at that moment that I realised, ‘Oh, my God, someone's trying to murder me,’” she said. “Someone’s going to come here and try and kill me or something.”

An Apple AirTag. An Apple AirTag. Image: Wachiwit/Alamy

Áine said she panicked at the thought of being tracked and immediately contacted Apple to get the tag disabled.

She said the company told her that because she didn’t own the tag, it wasn’t able to shut it down – and advised her to contact the police.

“The police came the next morning and I hadn't slept,” she said. “I was just up all night; I was terrified and I was worried.”

“So, the next morning the police came and they were able to hear the sound and … they obviously have had experience with this because he said, ‘Get that device out of your car. That's sinister like, that’s not there for anything good; that's put there for something sinister.”

“I think that when the policeman kind of validated me, that's when I got really, really afraid.”

Áine said the police were unable to find the tag and when she brought her car to a mechanic, she was told that it would cost around $8,000 to take the car apart to find it.


Áine said she turned into a ‘shell of a person’ over the following weeks.

“I couldn't go to work; I couldn't meet friends, I wasn't going to classes,” she said."

"I had been doing acting classes, yoga classes; I did breathwork classes and I was part of an acting group; I was in screenwriting classes – I was doing all this; I had a very active life in LA because, I guess, that's what I went there for.

“But I literally just turned into like a shell of a person; I literally didn't leave my house for the month.”

She said she kept getting notifications about the AirTag at random times over the next two months.

“It could be the middle of the day or the middle of the night,” she said. “It was like they were just turning it on to see where I was and what I was doing, so that was, I think, the scariest part of it.”


Eventually, Áine decided to return home to Ireland.

“I was living there; I had such a great life,” she said.

“I was saving for my house. I was working really hard in my career. I was getting really good roles and getting really good auditions and living just the dream – well my dream, anyway, at the time.

“Then, yeah, I just had to leave. It was just so, so sad and I'm still only now getting over it, if I'm being honest, and only now can I speak about it, because even when I first came home to Ireland, I didn't tell anyone.

“I couldn't tell any of my family; I didn't want to worry them. I was terrified. I just couldn't make sense of it; it was like my whole life had just been taken away from me and I guess my mental health was really, really suffering and I was just not in a really good place at all.”

'Weapon of choice'

Áine said she decided to speak out and push forward with her lawsuit because “control of my life was literally taken away from me” by the experience.

The class action lawsuit against Apple claims that AirTags have become the ‘weapon of choice’ for stalkers because of their small size, accuracy and affordability.

It labels them “one of the most dangerous and frightening technologies employed by stalkers.”


Gillian Wade, one of two US Attorney representing Áine and the other plaintiffs, told Barry that the core allegation is that AirTags are “not safe, and they can be used against anyone if they get into a stalker’s hands”.

She said the safety features Apple has rolled out up to now only serve to alert victims when they are being stalked – and nothing the company has done so far prevents stalking.

She said the lawsuit aims to hold Apple accountable and force the company to make meaningful changes to ensure its AirTags cannot be used by stalkers.


A statement on Apple’s website notes that the company is aware of “reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes”.

“Apple has been working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies,” it says.

“Through our own evaluations and these discussions, we have identified even more ways we can update AirTag safety warnings and help guard against further unwanted tracking.”

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