In 2021, Apple introduced AirTag technology which allows users, like you, keep track of personal items. Your keys, wallet, purse, backpack, luggage and more can be found through the Find My app on your iPhone. However, the device is finding utility in more nefarious circles, and the connection between AirTags and stolen cars is growing. Thus far, thieves are using the AirTags to steal cars by tracking people without their knowledge. In addition, individuals have been selling AirTags with the removal of the external, presence-announcing speakers. In response to these reports, Apple is taking firm steps to prevent unwanted tracking. Here is a breakdown of Apple’s AirTag safety measures in the works to help thwart criminal activity using their technology.
Advantages of AirTags
According to the Apple website, AirTag, AirPods, and Find My network accessories are made to protect your privacy when you’re using them. They have unique Bluetooth identifiers that change frequently. The Find My network uses end-to-end encryption and is built with privacy in mind. Countless stories are circulating about the usefulness of the AirTags for its customers. They can help find lost wallets on public transit or assist parents trying to locate lost medication for their child. AirTags are helping many Apple users track down their lost or misplaced items.
Advancements to AirTag safety measures on the way
In a blog post, the company outlines its plans to combat the scourge of malicious tracking. They lay out several steps they plan to take to help combat AirTags and stolen cars, both in the near term and in the future:
- New privacy warnings during AirTag setup. Every user setting up their AirTag for the first time will receive a message. It states that AirTags are meant to track their own belongings, not individuals without consent. AirTags are designed to be detected by potential victims. Additionally, it states that law enforcement can subpoena Apple to find the owner of the tag.
- Addressing alert issues concerning AirPods. If you have an AirPod near you that isn’t yours, you might receive an alert on your phone. This alert, “Unknown Accessory Detected,” was thought by many that it was an AirTag. In a future software update, Apple will be updating the alert you receive to indicate that AirPods have been travelling with you instead of an “Unknown Accessory.”
- Apple.com made updates to its support page. They provide people with more information on what to do when they discover an unfamiliar Apple item in their proximity.
There are also links to resources individuals can use if they feel their safety is at risk. This includes the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Apple is also investigating a series of updates that they plan to introduce later this year:
Currently, iPhone users (and Android users with an app) receive “unwanted tracking” alerts if an unknown AirTag moves with them. Users of iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 devices will be able to use “precision finding.” This allows them to see the distance and direction of an unknown AirTag when it is in range.
Display alert with sound
The AirTag automatically emits a sound to alert anyone nearby of its presence. It detects movement with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Apple will also display an alert on your device that you can then take action on. Actions, like playing a sound or using Precision Finding, if available. This will help in cases where the AirTag may be in a location where it is hard to hear. It can also be helpful if the AirTag speaker has undergone tampering.
Refining unwanted tracking alert logic
An update to Apple’s unwanted tracking alert system is also on the way. It’ll be able to notify users that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be travelling with them. No specific time interval has been given.
Tuning AirTag’s sound
Currently, iOS users receiving an unwanted tracking alert can play a sound to help them find the unknown AirTag. Apple will be adjusting the tone sequence to use more of the loudest tones. This will help make an unknown AirTag more easy to find. It will also transmit an alert to your Apple device at the same time.
To learn more about how to disable AirTags, click here.
With Apple AirTag safety measures set to come out later this year, critics of the technology should be happy. Many suggest that the release of the technology was too early without proper vetting. To understand how AirTags and stolen cars or theft can affect your coverage, speak to one of our isure representatives. Our brokers can help protect your items with the proper coverage recommendations.