Apple Updates AirTags To Help Prevent Unwanted Tracking

Apple has just released a statement about AirTags, talking about the purpose of the tracker and outlining some changes the company is planning to make. The small tracker is a powerful tool that can help you find your lost keys, but unfortunately, it also has the power to be dangerous when it falls into the wrong hands. Apple is soon going to introduce some changes that will make it easier to find unwanted trackers in your vicinity.

The company highlights the benefits of the $29 AirTag when paired with its proprietary Find My app. The device has helped thousands of people find lost backpacks, medications, and even stolen bicycles, but there's a downside to how accurate the AirTag is, too. Unfortunately, the tracker has recently been linked to suspected crimes, such as stalking and car theft.

Many publications, such as the New York Times, have recently reported occurrences of misuse when it comes to Apple's AirTag. While this problem is not exclusive to the AirTag and most likely affects all types of trackers, it seems that Apple has felt it was time to make its stance on the matter perfectly clear. It has also recently quietly updated its personal safety guide to reflect this.

"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," said Apple on its website.

New privacy warning will show up during setup

In its statement, Apple highlights that AirTags have been helpful in numerous criminal cases. The company states that it works closely with law enforcement agencies and provides AirTag details when faced with valid requests from law enforcement or a subpoena. In the process, it has allegedly helped in the capture of criminals on more than one occasion. However, as the other side of the coin is so dark and involves cases of stalking, Apple will be introducing changes to AirTags to make them safer to use.

Apple is adding a number of privacy warnings to the AirTag setup. Users will be shown a message during first-time setup, stating that AirTags are only meant to track their belongings and that using them to track people is without their consent is a crime in many parts of the world. The privacy warning also states that Apple can provide information about the owner of the AirTag if it becomes required by law enforcement.

The company is also going to fix an issue with AirPods. Some users have been receiving an "Unknown Accessory Detected" alert instead of specifying the type of device detected. Starting with the new update, AirPods will be properly identified along with AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and third-party Find My accessories.

More features are coming in a later update

Apple also talks about several useful features that it plans to add in a later update. No official release date for these has been given just yet, but Apple states that we can expect to see them before the end of 2022. The new features include Precision Finding, improved sound alerts, and an update to unwanted tracking alert logic.

Precision Finding is going to be available to users of iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 (as well as most likely any future versions) as a tool to track down unwanted AirTags. The functionality will utilize input from the camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, and ARKit in order to guide users to the unwanted AirTag with the help of sound, haptics, and visual feedback.

Apple is also trying to make it easier for users to find unwanted trackers. It will boost the volume emitted by AirTags in order to make them easier to find. Users will also receive notifications on their device if an unwanted AirTag is found traveling with them, in the event that they cannot hear the sound notifications. Lastly, Apple promises to update the AirTag tracking in order to notify users about strange AirTags quicker.