Apple launches Android app to address AirTags tracker concerns

Apple launched an app to compete with Android smartphones that will notify users if a tracking device is nearby.

Apple launches Android app to address AirTags tracker concerns

Apple's AirTags, which are tiny location trackers, can be attached to keys and bags in the event that they are lost.

They could be used to maliciously inflict harm on others, or even planted on their heads without their consent.

Android users can now use the new app to find nearby trackers that they don't own.

AirTags are a system that leverages millions of Apple devices to detect tags nearby and creates a powerful tracking network.

"These inexpensive tags can make it very easy for stalkers to hide one in victim's vehicle or personal belongings and then track their victim," Rachel Horman Brownn, who heads anti-stalking advocacy agency Paladin, said to BBC News.

Apple added a feature to iPhones that would alert users if an "unknown AirTag", or another compatible third-party device, was found "moving with" you. This was two months after they were released amid concerns about abuse.

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The new Android Tracker Detect app aims to provide Android users with some of the safety features Apple built into its devices.

Apple's support documentation states that the app "looks out for item trackers within Bluetooth range, which are separated from their owners".

It states that if you suspect someone is using an AirTag, or other item tracker, you can scan the device to try and find it.

You can also play a sound from an AirTag with the app to locate it if it's been near for more than 10 minutes.

AirTags can also beep when they are not in contact with the iPhone that they are registered to. This is done at random intervals between 8 and 24 hours to help victims who are unaware of any intrusive trackers.

You can also find instructions in the new app on how to remove and disable your AirTag, if you have one.

The Android app has received mixed reviews. Some users have criticised the fact that scans must be initiated manually rather than automatically detecting nearby tags. Victims should already suspect that they are being followed.

Others applauded Apple's decision to introduce privacy tools on a competitor platform.

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