Apple to Expand AirTag-Like Unwanted Tracking Alerts to Other Item Trackers in Future iOS Version

Apple and Google today jointly submitted a proposed industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth item trackers for unwanted tracking of individuals. As part of this initiative, the companies plan to expand AirTag-like unwanted tracking alerts to third-party item trackers in future versions of iOS and Android.

AirTag and iPhone Notification Feature
Tile, Chipolo, Samsung, Eufy, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, according to Apple's announcement.

The specification has been submitted via the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards organization and will be subject to a comment period over the next three months. Following the comment period, Apple and Google will partner to address feedback, and plan to release a "production implementation" of the specification by the end of 2023 that will then be supported in future versions of iOS and Android.

Since launching in April 2021, there have been several news stories about the AirTag being used for unwanted tracking. Currently, if iOS detects an unknown AirTag moving with someone over time, they are alerted with a push notification. Users can then take steps to find and disable the AirTag if necessary, as outlined in an Apple support document.

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Top Rated Comments

thirstydirt Avatar
15 months ago
When are they going to let my wife and I see the same air tags on each of our phones?? It's crazy there isn't family sharing on Air Tags yet...
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
15 months ago
I get the nefarious use issue very well but I don't exactly love companies who came up with the easy tracking working against easy tracking. What's the legit purpose of these things? For me, I want to use them for some added theft protection, so I put one in my car and one in an expensive bike. If either are stolen, I'd like these to help potentially locate and recover them vs. the insurance claim scenario, which likely ends up leading to only more out of pocket to replace since insurance generally pays less than replacement. See the NYC Police story posted yesterday ('https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/new-york-police-department-encourages-car-owners-to-use-airtags-to-deter-theft-500-free-airtags-available.2388370/') encouraging this very use.

However, if "safeguards" are going to alert the thieves that these are tracking them so they can find and toss the tracker, I'm not exactly feeling I can get ANYTHING out of this product. It seems it is marching towards becoming only a lost stuff device and not a stolen things tracker. It's great that I can find misplaced car keys or wallet but the found keys do no good if the car itself is missing.

It seems as these are evolving to avoid the scant nefarious use case, many good uses are being undermined too. Or more simply, the bad guys are winning: due to THEIR actions, steps are being taken to NOT track them doing another bad thing.

I don't know a complete answer here. Clearly, the stalker issue is a real problem too. But it seems unfortunate that one nefarious use is going to work against many positive uses.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
one more Avatar
15 months ago
How will it work with this thief catching police initiative, then? Surely, if a thief uses an iPhone or another supported device, it would alert them there is an AirTag in their stolen car? ?

https://www.macrumors.com/2023/05/01/nypd-encourages-car-owners-to-use-airtags/
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
15 months ago

When are they going to let my wife and I see the same air tags on each of our phones?? It's crazy there isn't family sharing on Air Tags yet...
AirTags have only been released 2 years ago. What do you expect a trillion dollar company to do? They are probably still busy trying to figure out how to place App Icons anywhere on a Home Screen

/s

Agreed! Another basic functionality Apple takes years / if ever, to integrate
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
15 months ago
Now, if only Apple and Alphabet could work together on a new stardard to replace SMS. It doesn't have to be RCS. It'd be nice to have something that's encrypted and cross platform compatible
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
15 months ago
Has anyone tried to track a ghost? I wonder if the AirTags are able to pick up paranormal activity if you leave it at a haunted asylum. ?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)