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Apple and Google finally announced unwanted tracking alerts for more than just AirTags

Published May 13th, 2024 5:52PM EDT
Apple AirTag 2
Image: Apple Inc.

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AirTags have been in the wild since 2021, and Apple and Google have been saying that they plan to enable notifications for unwanted trackers that are, well, tracking you, regardless of the brand that the item tracker comes from. Finally, the companies have announced that they are rolling this capability out.

In a press release, Apple announced that it and Google are rolling out their Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers specification capabilities to the iPhone and Android phones. The company says that it is “implementing this capability in iOS 17.5, and Google is now launching this capability on Android 6.0+ devices.” The updates are rolling out to devices starting today.

Apple and Google have worked together to create an industry specification — Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers — for Bluetooth tracking devices that makes it possible to alert users across both iOS and Android if such a device is unknowingly being used to track them. This will help mitigate the misuse of devices designed to help keep track of belongings. Today Apple is implementing this capability in iOS 17.5, and Google is now launching this capability on Android 6.0+ devices.

The company says “With this new capability, users will now get an “[Item] Found Moving With You” alert on their device if an unknown Bluetooth tracking device is seen moving with them over time, regardless of the platform the device is paired with.” This means that, in addition to AirTag, you should also get notified about item trackers from other brands like Chipolo, eufy, and more.

Showing what an AirTag looks like
AirTag has been tracking items since 2021. Image source: Apple

Apple says that, if you get a notification on your iPhone, it should mean that it’s detected an item tracker moving with you that isn’t registered to you. The company specifically calls out trackers from Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee but, interestingly, popular makers like Tile and Samsung are missing from the list. We’ll have to see what the deal is with those brands.

If a user gets such an alert on their iOS device, it means that someone else’s AirTag, Find My accessory, or other industry specification-compatible Bluetooth tracker is moving with them. It’s possible the tracker is attached to an item the user is borrowing, but if not, iPhone can view the tracker’s identifier, have the tracker play a sound to help locate it, and access instructions to disable it. Bluetooth tag manufacturers including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee have committed that future tags will be compatible.

This has been needed for years now. There are so many reports of people misusing item trackers, which are made to simply keep track of your luggage or keys, to track people, cars, and all kinds of scary situations. While these capabilities should have been considered and launched before these devices even entered the market, I’m glad these safety features are finally here.

So, make sure you install these new updates so you can be certain that no one is tracking you without your knowledge — regardless of the brand they are using.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.