What you need to know
- Apple has stated that it is working on releasing an AirTag app for Android.
- The app will allow users to detect whenever they're being "stalked" by an AirTag.
- Apple is also reducing the time for AirTags to alert when separated from the owner.
Useful privacy improvements are coming to the recently launched Apple AirTags, including a new Android app that Apple says is currently in development.
The news was first reported by CNET and Apple confirmed with Android Central. The company states that it will "introduce an Android application that will enable users to detect an AirTag or Find My network-enabled accessory separated from its owner that may be traveling with a user." The app is expected to launch later this year.
Apple launched the new object tracker during the Spring Loaded event in April as a competitor to some of the best Bluetooth trackers on the market, such as those from Tile. AirTags make use of Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology to track and locate items close by or at a distance. The Find My network can ping other iOS devices to locate a tag.
Unfortunately, the tag had a glaring problem; it could potentially be used to stalk users, especially someone using any of the best Android phones. That's because while iPhones can receive alerts warning users that an AirTag is "following" them, Android users are left out, making it much easier to stalk someone with an Android device by somehow hiding an AirTag on their person or in a vehicle. The upcoming AirTag app for Android devices plans to address this privacy concern.
Apple also states that it is updating the AirTag to reduce the time it takes for the device to ring an alert when it's away from its owner. "This time period is changing from three days to a random time between eight and 24 hours." This should make it easier for anyone to be alerted of any unknown AirTags that might have "accidentally" slipped into their bag or car. This update is rolling out today for AirTag owners.
With these new developments, Apple says that its AirTags bring "proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking." Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Android users can actually use an AirTag as a tracker with the upcoming app. Apple did not provide any additional details about its plans for the app.
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