airtag: Apple’s new AirTag updates could solve the ‘stalking problem’: All the details


Ever since their launch in 2021, the Apple AirTag have had certain users worried about being stalked. Apple has been addressing the issue with some tweaks and updates. However, now Apple has now issued a lengthy statement — detailing new features — with an update on AirTag and unwanted tracking. Here we detail how Apple wants to lay users’ concerns to rest.

Warning users about privacy while setting up AirTag

Apple has said that in an upcoming software update, every user setting up their AirTag for the first time will see a message that clearly states that AirTag is meant to track their own belongings and that using AirTag to track people without consent is a crime in many regions around the world. Apple will also categorically stated that AirTag is designed to be detected by victims, and that law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag.

Improving and addressing alert issues

Apple users have complained that they often get “Unknown Accessory Detected” alert. From now on, these alerts won’t be vague and if an AirTag is detected near a user then the alert will be clear. It has happened with different models of AirPods that users get the unknown accessory alert. “In the same software update, we will be updating the alert users receive to indicate that AirPods have been travelling with them instead of an Unknown Accessory,” Apple explained.

Making changes to AirTag sounds

Later this year, Apple will make changes to the alerts that come from the AirTag. “When AirTag automatically emits a sound to alert anyone nearby of its presence and is detected moving with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, we will also display an alert on your device that you can then take action on, like playing a sound or using Precision Finding, if available,” said Apple in the statement. Apple says that this will help in cases where the AirTag may be in a location where it is hard to hear, or if the AirTag speaker has been tampered with. Further, Apple will adjust the tone sequence to use more of the loudest tones to make an unknown AirTag more easily findable.


Changes to the unwanted tracking alert

Apple will update its unwanted tracking alert system to notify users earlier that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be travelling with them.

Precision Finding and AirTag

As the name suggests, Precision Finding allows recipients of an unwanted tracking alert to locate AirTag with precision. Only iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users will be able to use Precision Finding to see the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when it is in range. Currently, the feature works only with AirTag that is linked with your Apple ID. However, later this year Apple will allow Precision Finding to work with unknown AirTag as well that may be in the user’s vicinity.
Apple said that it is also working with law enforcement authorities on all AirTag-related requests we’ve received. “What these unwanted tracking alerts are showing us is that Apple’s system is working and, at the same time, raising awareness of this issue,” said Renee Williams, Executive Director, National Center for Victims of Crime. “If anyone is experiencing technology-enabled abuse, stalking, or harassment, we can be a resource for them in addition to law enforcement.”