Apple AirTag is getting more secure— here’s how

Apple’s AirTag is set to receive a number of updates to address unwanted tracking concerns, including new privacy warnings, precision finding, refining unwanted tracking alert logic, and more.

The Cupertino tech giant’s tracking device helps find everything from keys to luggage from ending up in a parallel universe, and while Apple incorporated some anti-stalking provisions when the AirTag launched, there were still weaknesses found — this AirTag experiment that tracked a package across the UK pointed them out. 

In the iOS 15.2 update, Apple armed users with a new scanning feature that’s designed to issue an alert if there’s a nearby AirTag tracking their every move. Now, Apple is adding more privacy features to keep those with malicious intent planting electronic hitchhikers at bay.

In the announcement, Apple states that it is “aware that individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons,” and that while incidents of AirTag misuse are rare, it’ still “one too many.”

(Image credit: Apple)

“Every AirTag has a unique serial number, and paired AirTags are associated with an Apple ID,” the post states. “Apple can provide the paired account details in response to a subpoena or valid request from law enforcement. We have successfully partnered with them on cases where information we provided has been used to trace an AirTag back to the perpetrator, who was then apprehended and charged.”

As for upcoming updates, users setting up their AirTag for the first time will see new privacy warning messages stating how the AirTag should be used, making it clear that the “AirTag is designed to be detected by victims, and that law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag.”

AirTag users can expect a “Precision Finding” feature that allows recipients of an unwanted tracking alert to locate an unknown AirTag with precision. This feature will be available for iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users, allowing them to see the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when in range.

A display alert with sound will also be coming in a future update. 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. Plus, Apple will update its unwanted tracking alert system to notify users earlier that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be traveling with them.

What’s more, the tech giant will be adjusting the tone sequence to use more of the loudest tones to make an unknown AirTag more easily findable. Apple has also updated its unwanted tracking support article, offering more details on safety features and how Find My accessories may trigger an unwanted tracking alert.

For those looking for more ways to stay private and keep their personal information away from prying eyes, check out these iPhone apps you need to ramp up your online privacy, along with how to permanently stop spam calls on iPhone and Android phones

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