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Apple to introduce changes in AirTags to safeguard against unwanted tracking

Apple to introduce changes in AirTags to safeguard against unwanted tracking

Apple to introduce changes in AirTags to safeguard against unwanted tracking
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By CNBCTV18.com Feb 11, 2022 8:35:40 PM IST (Published)

The button-sized devices were designed by Apple to help users locate items like keys or bags through the 'Find My' network. The Bluetooth device is attached to the user’s personal belongings and can be tracked by simply checking the iPhone.

Following reports of misuse of the AirTag, Apple said it plans to introduce changes in the product later this year to safeguard against unwanted tracking.

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The button-sized devices were designed by Apple to help users locate items like keys or bags through the 'Find My' network. The Bluetooth device is attached to the user’s personal belongings and can be tracked by simply checking the iPhone.


However, since its launch in April 2021, multiple people have complained that the AirTag is increasingly being used for nefarious activities such as stalking. The small, circular devices can easily be hidden in a car or a bag.

"We have seen reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes," Apple said in a statement, adding that at times individuals could also receive unwanted tracking alerts by simply borrowing another person’s keys with an attached AirTag.

“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property," the Cupertino-based tech giant said.

To curb such spying, Apple will come up with value-added privacy-focused features, which will make suspicious tags easier to find and alert users sooner.


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At the very start, while setting up the AirTag device for the first time, users will receive a message that using the device to track people without consent is a crime in various countries across the world.

As things stand, iPhone users are sent "unwanted tracking" alerts when an unknown AirTag is detected near them. Similarly, Apple introduced the Tracker Detect app in December to enable Android users to sniff out nearby unwanted AirTags.

In the future, Apple said users would be alerted earlier of unknown AirTags moving with them. For this, Apple is updating its algorithm.

Apple will also adjust the tone sequence of the AirTag to make them beep louder. When an unknown AirTag first plays a sound alert, iPhone users will simultaneously get notifications. At present, if the user misses an alert, there is no notification sent to the iPhone. The move will help deal with AirTags whose speakers have been tampered with.

iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users will be able to use "precision finding" to check the direction and distance of the unknown AirTag if they are within range. At present, only the owner of the AirTag is able to get the exact location of the device.

The tech giant will also provide additional information and resources in its support article on unwanted tracking.

Although Apple said the updates will be available to users later this year, it has not mentioned a specific date. It has also not mentioned how soon the alerts will be sent. According to The Verge, users currently receive alerts between 8 and 24 hours when an unknown AirTag is detected near them.

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