Apple strengthens protections against unwanted AirTag tracking

Apple AirTag attached to multiple accessories and featuring different engravings

A couple of weeks ago, Neowin reported that bad actors were using AirTag devices to track people, even though the intended use of the devices is to track personal belongings. To help protect people against AirTag misuse, Apple has announced a raft of updates that it's making to improve people’s safety.

Apple split up its updates into two categories, those changes it's ready to introduce and those it plans to introduce later in the year. In the first category is an imminent software update that will notify AirTag users during the initial setup that the device is intended for tracking personal items and not people. The warning says that tracking other people in a crime, that the AirTag can be detected by victims, and that law enforcement can get information about the owner of the AirTag if needed.

Another change in the upcoming update is the Unknown Accessory Detected alert. The company said that AirTags do not trigger this alert and instead this is likely caused by AirPods or a third-party Find My network accessory. The update will be more clear if AirPods have been discovered and mention them by name.

Finally, the company has updated the unwanted tracking support article to explain to users how Find My accessories trigger unwanted tracking alerts. There are instructions for disabling these accessories and there are resources for those who feel their safety has been compromised.

In future updates this year, Apple will introduce Precision Finding to better locate the unknown AirTag, a display alert will show up on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if an AirTag has been found to be moving with you, the unwanted tracking alert logic is being updated to alert users they’re being tracked earlier so they don’t lead the accessory back to their home, and lastly, an unknown AirTag will make a louder noise so that it’s easier to find.

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