Apple and Google team up to stop unwanted AirTag tracking

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Apple AirTag
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple and Google said on Tuesday that they were working together to prevent lost item trackers like Apple’s AirTag from being used to track people without their permission.

The companies have worked together on an update to the Bluetooth technology and will build the ability to alert victims to unwanted trackers into Android and iOS, the companies said.

Apple’s AirTag is intended to help people find lost items such as keys by displaying an item’s nearly real-time location inside an iPhone app. But there have been many reports about the $30 coin-sized device being used to stalk people since it went on sale in 2021.

In response, Apple previously built detection features into iPhones that allow users to detect unfamiliar AirTags in the user’s area.

Tuesday’s announcement suggests that Android phones will also soon gain the ability to warn their users if they are being tracked by an AirTag.

Apple and Google said that an update to Bluetooth that would enable these features would be completed by the end of 2023, and then implemented “in future versions of iOS and Android.”

The update to Bluetooth will also allow other lost item trackers, like those made by Samsung or Tile, to build similar iPhone and Android alert features.