Apple released its AirTag Bluetooth tracker in April. The response was positive, but there were major concerns. Privacy groups asked whether or not Apple was doing enough to ensure the AirTag tracker couldn’t be used for nefarious purposes. What if an abusive spouse wanted to use an AirTag to track their partner? What if a stalker snuck an AirTag into a victim’s car or backpack? Apple swiftly made a number of changes to address these concerns with software updates. Now, the company has made good on another promise with the release of an Android app called Tracker Detect.
Apple’s new Android app Tracker Detect
According to CNET, Apple released the new Tracker Detect app on the Google Play store on Monday. Apple originally announced the app back in June. As the description on Google Play explains, Tracker Detect can “[look] for item trackers that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with Apple’s Find My network.” This includes the AirTag. So if you suspect that someone might be using a Find My device to track you, you can scan for it.
This is an exceedingly simple app. Once you open it, you’ll see a big blue button that reads “Scan” at the bottom of the screen. Tap the button, and if the app detects any trackers, they will show up on the screen. If a tracker stays in your vicinity for at least ten minutes, you can tap another button to make it play a sound. That should give you the ability to find the tracker if it’s on your person.
Tracker Detect will also help you learn more information about the tracker, such as the serial number. And you can also find instructions for how to disable the tracker within the app. Taking the battery out of an AirTag is easy. Just push down and twist counter-clockwise on the back of the item tracker. Then remove the cover and the battery. This will prevent the owner from finding the AirTag.
Android owners react to Tracker Detect
An Apple spokesperson shared the following statement with CNET regarding the new app:
AirTag provides industry leading privacy and security features and today we are extending new capabilities to Android devices. Tracker Detect gives Android users the ability to scan for an AirTag or supported Find My enabled item trackers that might be traveling with them without their knowledge. We are raising the bar on privacy for our users and the industry, and hope others will follow.
The reviews on Google Play haven’t been especially favorable. With 195 reviews, Tracker Detect is sitting at a 3 stars out of 5. Many of the complaints appear to be about the lack of automation. If you don’t actively choose to scan, the app won’t detect anything. Tracker Detect might have been more useful if Apple made it so that the app automatically notified users that were in range of an unknown tracker for an extended period of time. That would suggest that a tracker might be following them, which is theoretically the point of the app. Tracker Detect might need an update.