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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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
I hope this is a temporary solution for Android. Someone would have to consciously download this app just to prevent air tag stalking. That's just a very far fetched solution. Anything less than working with Google on an API for Android will be inadequate.
Apple isn't exactly known for playing nice, and short of google and apple coming to some agreement over use of apples Find my network I don't see it happening.
Google needs to create an Android equivalent of AirTags that are exclusive to Pixel devices but hopefully they won't pull a Samsung and limit it to the latest Pixel devices.
Google will make them 10 years from now then they will be in beta for another 5 years then the will just drop them like they do everything else
I doubt that, especially when it comes to something like this.
Nah. Google will make an amazing version that captures pixel users hearts, forget it exists after a year or two, 6 months after that remember it's a thing, and then cancel it in favor of a similarish product but promise to bring all the great features over.
Only the uwb Samsung smart tag is limited to the latest models. The standard is useable on older devices without uwb.
There is a glaring problem with this..... if you have an item that is stolen with an airtag in it, the person that stole the item will be alerted that the device is following them. These airtags are a privacy nightmare.
How is this different from Tile?
Bingo! And Trakr and Chiplolo and Samsung trackers. And T-Mobiles new GPS tracker with LTE. Apparently wasn't an issue before Apple thought about and announced it was doing what it could about it. Oh but Android users would have to download an app. Yea, if the other trackers had this feature, a concerned stalkee would have to download the app for each and every tracker out there. This is not intended to be a, 'but others are doing it' excuse, or an 'others aren't doing it'. I get that stalking could be done, but no-one has done anything about it until now and I don't recall a pandemic of 'they tracked them to their house by secreting a Tile', headlines. Seems like every mitigation attempt is going to have a side affect that will make the devices less functional for their intended purpose. Beeping when it is separated will certainly alert a thief to it's presence. Attaching one to your kid's backpack may result in an entire classroom of beepers. Not sure how close you have to be for them to think you are with them, but if you use them on your luggage, on a long flight the thing will be beeping when it is unloaded and all through the baggage handling process. DHS really doesn't like luggage that beeps.
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