Apple Says New AirTag Privacy Warnings are Coming and More

Apple on Thursday announced new privacy warnings for the AirTags, among other features designed to help prevent the coin-sized tracking devices and Apple’s Find My network from being used to track individuals without their consent.

“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” said Apple.

Last month, a stalker trailed Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooks Nader around New York City for nearly five hours after slipping an AirTag into her coat pocket. Beyond creeping on people, there have also been reports of Apple’s AirTags being used to mark and track cars for theft.

The improvements Apple says are coming to AirTags and the tech giant’s device tracking ecosystem include:

  • New privacy warnings during AirTag setup
  • Clearer alerts for when unknown AirPods are detected near you — Users will now see an alert indicating that AirPods have been travelling with them instead of an “Unknown Accessory.”
  • Updated support documentation
  • Precision tracking of unknown AirTags — The new Precision Finding feature will allow iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users to see the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when one is in range.
  • On-device display alerts for unknown AirTags with sound — Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will now display an alert that you can take action on (like playing a sound or using Precision Finding) when an AirTag is detected moving with the device.
  • Refined unwanted tracking alert logic — Alerts of an unknown AirTag or other Find My network accessory will now come earlier than before.
  • Louder sounds — Users can play a sound to help find an unknown AirTag, which will now use louder tones to make AirTags easier to locate.

All of the new features and changes will be shipped in an upcoming software update.

Apple launched the AirTag for $29 USD ($39 CAD) in April of last year as a tracking device to help customers locate items using the company’s Find My network, which boasts over 1 billion Apple devices globally.

“We design our products to provide a great experience, but also with safety and privacy in mind,” said Apple, in a statement.

“Across Apple’s hardware, software, and services teams, we’re committed to listening to feedback and innovating to make improvements that continue to guard against unwanted tracking.”

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