For the first time this year, Apple rolled out a firmware update for its AirTag item tracker on Tuesday. At the time, it was not totally clear what the update added to the accessory, but on Thursday, Apple published a new support page detailing the changes. As it turns out, AirTag firmware update 1.0.301 tunes the sound that is made when an unknown AirTag is traveling with you. This should make it easier to find unwanted AirTags.
AirTag update enhances anti-stalking protection
Apple shared a press release in February explaining how it planned to improve anti-stalking protections on the AirTag. This was one of the bullet points:
- Tuning AirTag’s sound: Currently, iOS users receiving an unwanted tracking alert can play a sound to help them find the unknown AirTag. We will be adjusting the tone sequence to use more of the loudest tones to make an unknown AirTag more easily findable.
Based on the release notes for 1.0.301, it looks like this was the only significant change in the new AirTag firmware update. That said, it’s a welcome one. This should make it easier to find an unwanted AirTag even if it’s stashed somewhere out of the way.
According to MacRumors, Apple is rolling out the update on a staggered basis. A scant 1% of users got the update on Tuesday when it launched. 10% of AirTag owners should receive the update on May 3rd, 25% on May 9th, and everyone else on May 13th. In other words, do not panic if your AirTag hasn’t been updated at the time you’re reading this.
More changes coming soon
This was just one of several major enhancements that Apple announced in February. We’re still waiting for the others, including a helpful new feature called Precision Finding. As Apple explained, Precision Finding will allow users who get an unwanted tracking alert to precisely locate the offending tracker.
If you have an iPhone 11 or newer, you can use the feature to see the distance and direction of the AirTag when it’s in range.
Apple will also add a notification that pops up when the unwanted tracking alert sounds. The alert will give iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users the ability to play the noise or use Precision Finding. This will be especially useful if the AirTag is too far away to hear. It could also ease concerns about AirTags with speakers that have been tampered with.
Additionally, Apple plans to refine the logic of the AirTag’s unwanted tracking alert system. Apple wants users to know as quickly as possible when an unwanted AirTag is traveling with them.
It’s unclear precisely when all of these new features will be available, but Apple wants to introduce them all before the end of the year.
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