Apple is stuck in an unfortunate situation with AirTags. Their meteoric rise in popularity has opened them to criticism, as criminals find ways to use them for stalking and theft. Thankfully, the company is taking steps to prevent the malicious use of its trackers.
In a detailed post on its newsroom, Apple broke down its plans for cracking down on people using AirTags for criminal activities.
The first step is one that most criminals will probably ignore, and that’s a security warning during the setup process. That seems unlikely to deter someone looking to steal a high-end car, but it might make some people think twice about rising AirTags maliciously.
Apple is also introducing a new feature called Precision Finding. It will show users the exact distance and direction to an unknown AirTag as long they have an iPhone 11, iPhone 12, or iPhone 13.
The big game-changer is that users will now get an alert with sound on their device that lets them know an AirTag is nearby. If someone were to tamper with an AirTag’s speaker, which is happening right now, this would let them know there’s a device nearby even if they can’t hear the sound through the AirTag itself.
A change is coming to Apple’s unwanted alert tracking system. The company says, “Our unwanted tracking alert system uses sophisticated logic to determine how we alert users. We plan to update our unwanted tracking alert system to notify users earlier that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be traveling with them.”
Finally, Apple is going to be “adjusting the tone sequence to use more of the loudest tones to make an unknown AirTag more easily findable.” While the speaker’s volume can only go so loud, changing the tone could help make a hidden AirTag more audible, assuming the speaker hasn’t been tampered with.
Unfortunately, AirTags are being used for malicious things, but at least Apple is taking steps to make its devices safer. Apple said these changes would go live “later this year,” so it’ll take some time before AirTags become more criminal-proof.
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