Google and Apple Will Soon Make Misusing an AirTag Nearly Impossible

AirTags will soon get improved detection 6 photos
Photo: Apple
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Let's be honest about it: while the AirTag is a great device that people use to track everything from car keys to wallets and vehicles, criminals have also discovered and taken advantage of its worst side.
AirTags have become stalkers' favorite tool, as the small form factor allows the device to be installed in hard-to-spot places.

As a result, they use the AirTag to monitor their targets, track their location, and eventually conduct more nefarious activities.

Apple has already tried to address this shortcoming with software updates, but a partnership with Google, Samsung, and other tech companies could put an end to the Bluetooth tracker misuse once and for all.

The company joined forces to develop an industry specification that would fight the misuse of such devices earlier this year, and now it looks like the release is almost around the corner. The involved tech giants have filed an application with the Internet Engineering Task Force, or IETF, for a technology called "Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers."

Once this system gets all approvals, it can be integrated into Android and iPhone, making it easier to detect nearby trackers, be they AirTags, Tile, or any other devices with similar capabilities.

Apple already offers unwanted tracker detection and anti-stalking protections on the iPhone, sending notifications to a smartphone when an AirTag is moving with it. However, the detection is more difficult on Android, where Google users have been requested to download and install a dedicated application from the Google Play Store. The application requires a manual scan for nearby AirTags, with no automatic detection available. Google has been working on integrating similar capabilities into Android.

With this new industry specification, Google and Apple can offer automatic detection, with more frequent notifications and faster warnings when an unrecognized tracker is found nearby. The solution should help prevent nefarious misuses like stalking and thieves turning to AirTags and other similar trackers to monitor their potential targets.

Meanwhile, the AirTag has become a must-have device for car owners, as it can provide valuable location information if the vehicle gets stolen. Police also recommend car owners to plant AirTags in their cars, advising them to call 911 the moment they notice the vehicle is missing. If you need ideas on where to install an AirTag in the cabin, you can check out this article, but feel free to contribute with more tips in the box after the jump.

Apple is also working on a new-generation AirTag, with the launch expected to take place in 2024 or 2025. The new device could feature improved tracking, better detection, more accurate location features, and more efficient anti-stalking protection, especially because the new industry standard should be finalized in the meantime. Apple has remained tight-lipped on everything related to the new-generation AirTag.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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