Tile Follows AirTags With New Secret Tracking Alert

Tile is adding a new Scan and Secure feature that will let users find tracking devices that might have been secretly deployed to track their movement. The feature is currently rolling out for both Android and iOS and will appear for all users within the next couple of weeks. Scan and Secure works in the same fashion as Apple's own safety tool for spotting unknown AirTags, a product that raised concerns about the potential for abusive usage. Once the scan is complete and suspicious tracking devices are connected, users are advised to contact a law enforcement agency if they find a Tile tracker planted on them.

The company assures users that it will subsequently cooperate with officials if there's a court order. While Apple offers the same sort of proactive detections, there's a difference in how the scan happens. Apple's hardware can automatically detect if an unknown AirTag has been moving with users for a while. In Tile's case, the scan has to be performed manually, and it takes 10 minutes to deliver the most accurate results.

Lengthy scan process with specific demands

Tile notes the Scan and Secure feature performs a total of six scans to spot Tile trackers and other Tile-enabled devices in the vicinity. Moreover, users are advised to move a certain distance from their original location in order to get the best results. If the app is unable to perform at least three scans in 10 minutes, users will have to start it all over again. 

Additionally, the company discourages performing a scan in a crowded place or public transport, as the scan results might show tracking devices that people nearby may be carrying to safeguard their own stuff. A notable convenience is that users don't need a Tile account or a gadget registered to Tile's network to use the scanning feature. Once the scan detects a nearby Tile tracker, users will see a picture of the product alongside the number of times it was spotted in the scan. 

It will be accompanied by a reference ID that acts as a unique identifier for a Tile-enabled device. But for safety reasons, this is intermittently changed, and only Tile can trace it back to the owner with a court order or nod from law enforcement agencies. Users finding a surreptitiously planted Tile tracker can disable it by removing the battery or wrapping it in several layers of foil to block all signals from it.