Apple has a problem on its hands in the AirTags. The company did nothing wrong when creating the tracking devices. However, people are using them maliciously. This has forced Apple to scramble to add anti-stalking and theft features. Unfortunately, the first batch doesn’t seem like enough.
The fourth iOS 15.4 beta, which just rolled out to developers, adds some features designed to combat people using AirTags to stalk people and steal cars.
First, Apple is adding a warning to the setup process that tells people not to use AirTags to track other people. “Using this item to track people without their consent is a crime in many regions around the world. This item is designed to be detected by victims and to enable law enforcement to request identifying information about the owner,” reads the warning.
Additionally, the update makes it harder for AirTags to go undetected when they’re put on someone without their permission. Now, you can no longer disable Item Safety Alerts. Instead, you can only customize them. This will make it harder for people to hide AirTags on an unsuspecting victim.
This is only the first step of Apple’s AirTag safety updates. With that said, this doesn’t address some of the larger issues. Features like Precision Tracking, louder sounds, and additional alerts are coming later, and those are the ones that’ll really enhance safety. This also does nothing to help Android users, which is an entirely different problem.
While it’s great that Apple is taking the first step, it’s hard to get too excited about these minimal updates. We’ll see if we see a decrease in AirTag-related crimes, but more likely than not, we’ll need to wait for the next batch of updates before we see a difference.