Apple announces new AirTag updates to address unwanted tracking

In order to address concerns about unwanted tracking and stalking, Apple has announced several new AirTag updates that will be released soon. These updates include Apple collaborating with safety organisations and law enforcement agencies to improve user protection against malicious tracking through new alerts and documentation.

The iPhone manufacturer claimed in a statement sent to the Apple Newsroom on Thursday that “AirTag was meant to assist individuals find their personal things, not to monitor people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the harshest terms any harmful use of our devices.” Unwanted tracking has always been a social issue, and while designing AirTag, we took this concern seriously.

“We’ve learned that people might get unwelcome monitoring notifications for seemingly innocent causes, as when using someone else’s AirTag-equipped keys or while riding in a vehicle that has a family member’s AirPods left inside. Additionally, there have been stories of unscrupulous actors seeking to exploit AirTag for nefarious or illegal activities. Apple has a solid working relationship with several safety organisations and law enforcement organisations. Through these talks and our own studies, we have discovered further methods to improve the AirTag safety instructions and prevent future unauthorised tracking.

Apple announces new AirTag updates to address unwanted tracking-1

In a future software update, Apple will include new messages that inform users who set up their AirTag for the first time that AirTag is intended to track their own belongings, that using AirTag to track people without their consent is illegal in many parts of the world, that AirTag is made to be detected by victims, and that law enforcement can ask for identifying information about the owner of the AirTag.

The firm has recognised that when their iPhone detects their AirPods nearby, some customers have been inadvertently getting an “Unknown Accessory Detected” message. Apple claims that in the same software update, the message consumers see will be changed to state that AirPods have been travelling with them rather than an “Unknown Accessory.”

Apple is currently upgrading its online support page for unwanted tracking to explain the security safeguards included with AirTag, AirPods, and Find My Network accessories. This page has been updated with new information on what to do after getting an alert, including steps for deactivating an AirTag, AirPods, or Find My network accessory. It also provides further descriptions of which Find My accessories may cause unwelcome tracking notifications.

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Additionally, Apple has revealed some other AirTag enhancements that it intends to roll out later this year. These include notifications on a user’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch when an AirTag emits a sound to alert anyone nearby of its presence – 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 – and giving the recipients of an unwanted tracking alert the ability to locate an unknown AirTag with Precision Finding.

In order to make it easier to locate an unidentified AirTag, Apple also wants to improve the tone sequence and logic for the general AirTag unwelcome tracking notice.

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