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Apple Changes AirTags To Guard Against Tracking Misuse

Apple announced it would introduce changes to prevent users from misusing AirTags to track others.

The tech giant launched the small button-sized circular devices in April last year.

AirTags work with Apple’s “Find My” network were designed to locate lost items. According to the company, they can be placed on keys, luggage, or any other item that can be lost.

However, several women reported that they had been followed using the technology earlier this year. Some people were found to have misused the devices to track others by hiding them in a car, grocery bags, or personal items.

Apple said it would take steps to make it harder for AirTags to be misused. As part of the changes, those devices using the app will receive “unwanted tracking” alerts when they detect an unknown or unregistered AirTag.

The company explained that the alert message would be sent to users before the unknown device connects or moves with them.

iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 will also see a feature change, allowing users to enable “precision finding” to learn the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when in range. The feature was only available to the AirTag’s owner.

Also, Apple said the small devices would display a warning message that using them to track people without consent is a crime in several countries worldwide every time a user sets up an AirTag for the first time.

The changes also include a feature that makes AirTags play a sound when moved if they haven’t been with the person who registered them for an extended period.

Existing iOS users can send an alert when unwanted tracking is detected and make the suspected device play sounds. Apple stated that the feature would stay but would be enhanced with louder tones to make AirTags easier to locate

Apple’s moves are intended to reveal an AirTag’s presence to a stalking victim.

However, reports recently revealed that AirTags with internal speakers disabled were available for purchase online.

The tech giant said it would counter the situation by sending an alert to iPhone or iPad devices when the sound is activated and the AirTag is detected moving with them. Apple’s support article on unwanted tracking will also be updated with new resources and information.