Apple and Google to Stop AirTag Tracking

Updated: May. 2, 2023 at 9:45 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - They’re devices designed to help you when you can’t find your keys, keep tabs on your luggage, or find other items like your wallet that you may have misplaced.

Unfortunately, there have been several reports of malefactors misusing AirTags and Bluetooth tracking products like them – to keep their tracking eyes on you.

Apple and Google are teaming up to thwart unwanted tracking by stalkers, looking to shadow their former love interests and other people who don’t realize they are being tracked.

The two companies on Tuesday submitted a proposal to set standards for combatting secret surveillance on Apple’s AirTag trackers and similar gadgets. The concept also has the backing of Samsung, which sells the most Android smartphones worldwide, as well as tracking products similar to the AirTag such as Tile, Chipolo, and Pebblebee.

Since its release, Apple has updated the AirTag software so it chirps when it’s tracking an item through the Find My app. Up until now, it’s forced Android users to download a separate app that alert users when an unknown AirTag device was detected near them.

Apple and AirTag hope to have a plan in place by the end of this year to thwart stealth tracking. The solution would be distributed through software updates to iPhones and Android phones.

Erica Olsen, the senior director of National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net Project, applauded the effort to set an industry standard that she believes will help protect survivors of abusive relationships and other people that have been targets of stealth technology. “These new standards will minimize opportunities for abuse of this technology and decrease the burden on survivors in detecting unwanted trackers,” Olsen said.