Air Tags are getting the anti-stalking measures promised by Apple in the latest iOS 15.4 beta. Apple’s personal pocket trackers have been in great demand, thanks to their ability to accurately pinpoint the location of a personal item such as a purse or keys. Unfortunately, there have been several reported cases of individuals using AirTags improperly to stalk others. By placing an AirTag on an unsuspecting person, bad actors are able to track the location of their victims.
Apple was quick to address privacy issues with AirTags and announced several upcoming security measures. The company said it will provide authorities with the linked Apple ID of a suspected AirTag. In addition, Apple also announced a series of updates that make AirTags more difficult to use for crimes. This includes playing the highest pitch to help a user detect an AirTag when receiving a notification about an unknown device. In addition, Apple will also notify users about unwanted trackers that follow them using Precision Search. allow iPhone users to accurately locate an AirTag that does not belong to them but is on their person. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on iPhone 11, 12, and 13.
Apple is now making some of its promised features available. 9to5Mac reports that the latest iOS 15.4 beta gets two new anti-stalking measures for AirTags. The first is an alert that users will receive when setting up an AirTag. The alert states that AirTags should only be used to track personal belongings and using them to track people without their consent is considered a crime. It also informs the user that the AirTag is linked to their Apple ID, and this information may be shared with authorities in the event of misuse.
In iOS 15.4, Apple is also fixing the confusing “unknown accessory detected” message that has been causing panic among users. iPhone users have been getting this alert for unknown AirPods and third-party devices traveling alongside them, but the vague message led many to believe they were being tracked by an AirTag. To make things clearer, Apple will now inform users of the specific accessory detected nearby. Also, iOS 15.4 will no longer allow users to disable security alerts when a tracker is detected.
The misuse of AirTags was serious enough that the New York Attorney General’s Office issued an official warning to citizens, asking them to be on the lookout for trackers. Some of the general guidelines include keeping an eye on personal belongings where AirTags can be planted, listening for unfamiliar beep sounds, and paying attention to “item detected near you” notices on iPhones. The Attorney General also advised Android users to download Apple’s Tracker Detect app from the Play Store, which can be used to manually search for unknown AirTags nearby. Unfortunately, Android users are still at a disadvantage as Apple’s Android app cannot detect a suspicious AirTag on its own.