Apple releases safety features to AirTag in response to reports of misuse

The company announced Thursday that Apple's AirTag devices would soon receive software updates to improve safety and privacy features.

Apple releases safety features to AirTag in response to reports of misuse

These new steps are being taken after people reported that some stalkers used the tiny Bluetooth device to track their movements.

Apple stated in a statement that AirTag was created to help people find their personal belongings. It is not intended to track other people's property.

Apple stated that updates will include an alert to users during AirTag setup. This alert clarifies the illegality of using the device for stalking others and that law enforcement can request access to AirTag information including the Apple ID.

Apple also announced that it would update its "Unknown Accessory Detected" alerts to remove certain AirPod headphones. If the AirPods are being carried by a person, they will be notified that they're headphones and not an accessory.

The company is also looking into a number of AirTag updates. This would include precision finding which would allow anyone who receives "Unknown Accessory Detected” alerts to pinpoint the AirTag. Other possible updates include louder sounding AirTags and sending the "Unknown Accessory Detected” alert earlier.

Apple stated, "We hope that this sets an industry trend for other manufacturers to provide these types of proactive warnings in products,"

When an AirTag is attached to an Apple product, such as luggage or keys, it activates to show the item's current location. Some people report that stalkers attach AirTag tags to victims or their belongings and use it to track them.

"Inside Edition' chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero heard from one woman that she discovered an AirTag in her car’s gas tank. The alert came on her iPhone, indicating that an "unknown accessory", was following her. Another victim claimed that she felt helpless when she realized that someone was following her.

Apple maintained Thursday that AirTag misuse incidents are rare, according to discussions with law enforcement. Apple said that it was actively working with authorities to investigate all reports related to AirTag misuse. Apple stated that it has partnered with officials in cases where the information provided was used to trace AirTags back to the perpetrator. He was later apprehended, and then charged.

The company advised that iPhone users who get an AirTag alert to tap it and then press the "Play sound" button. This should trigger a noise from the tag to help you locate it.

Hold an iPhone or NFC-capable smartphone close to an AirTag and a notification will pop up. This will take you to the Apple resource page.

Android users can download Tracker Detect to check if there are any AirTags.

Apple encourages anyone who feels their safety is in danger to contact the local police.

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