When Apple originally announced AirTags, many people were concerned that the trackers would be used to stalk others.
Of course, that’s exactly what happened. People hid them in cars, bikes, luggage, and more to try and steal vehicles and property, or straight-up stalk people and endanger them. Thankfully, Apple included alerts so that users would get a notification if an unknown AirTag was found following them. This led many to report the AirTag and track it back to the person who misused it, resulting in several arrests.
However, these useful alerts have been exclusive to Apple customers so far, while those with an Android phone have been left out in the cold. Google announced back at I/O 2023 that it planned to launch unknown tracker alerts later this year, and thankfully, the feature is finally starting to roll out now for devices running Android 6.0 or later.
In a blog post, the company says that the feature is starting to roll out today and will continue to do so throughout the rest of the month:
You can tap the notification to learn more about the tracker and view a map of where the tracker was seen traveling with you. You can also tap “Play sound” and the tracker will make a noise to help you locate it without the owner of the tracker knowing.
Google says that users will be able to not only be notified of the tracker but take action on the situation as well.
When you bring the device near the back of your phone, some Bluetooth trackers may share their serial number or additional information about the owner of the device, like the last four digits of their phone number. You can also learn how to physically disable the Bluetooth tracker completely, so the device will stop the owner from receiving future location updates from the tracker.
You can learn more about the feature in the video posted by Google below:
The company says that the first product the alerts will work with is Apple’s AirTag. This isn’t surprising, considering that Apple’s tracker quickly became the most popular one in the world. Google says that it plans to add more products over time, but did not specify which trackers could be next on the list.
This is a feature that has been long overdue. With the proliferation of trackers, we all deserve to feel safe and to know if someone is trying to track something of ours without permission — or us directly. I personally love my AirTags to track my keys, backpack, and luggage. I feel more secure knowing that they are always a glance away if I lose them. However, we all need protection from those who would misuse them.