Apple and Google's cross-platform anti-stalking tracker standard arrives in iOS 17.5

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in iOS

Apple and Google have finally implemented their industry specification for detecting AirTags and other trackers hidden on a person, to help minimize the instances of stalking.

AirTag, a tracker that will support Apple and Google's industry standard.
AirTag, a tracker that will support Apple and Google's industry standard.



Initially announced in May 2023, the industry standard between Apple and Google is titled "Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers." After a year of waiting, it's finally becoming a reality on consumer devices.

The new standard will alert users on iOS and Android if a Bluetooth tracking device owned by someone else is being used to track them. Users will get new alerts on their smartphones if an unknown Bluetooth tracking device is found to be moving with the user over time, regardless of platform.

If someone else's AirTag, Find My accessory, or other compatible Bluetooth tracker is detected, but not attached to an item the user is borrowing or otherwise knows about, they can find out more. An iPhone is able to view the tracker's identifier, play a sound on the tracker to locate it, and see instructions on how to disable it.

While Apple hardware like AirTag will support the system, more will be supporting it in the future. Manufacturers including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee have pledged to make future tags they produce compatible with the new system.

Apple is implementing the new feature as part of iOS 17.5. Google will be bringing the same functionality to Android devices running Android 6.0 or later.

The specification is still not finalized, and will likely change in the future. Apple and Google intend to continue working with the Internet Engineering Task Force via the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers working group to develop an official standard.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    jvm156jvm156 Posts: 9member
    This blows, even if they’re not meant for it, most people use these as theft protection
    slow n easymacxpress
  • Reply 2 of 10
    slow n easyslow n easy Posts: 335member
    jvm156 said:
    This blows, even if they’re not meant for it, most people use these as theft protection
    I completely agree. I don't want trackers to be used maliciously but it would also be nice to use them for theft prevention.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 10
    I also agree. It would be great if you could operate an AirTag for a set number of hours accompanied by your phone to enable it to be used for Theft detection. This could be see it at a long enough interval to prove that you own the device and where it’s placed. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    How exactly do you commenters think that they can be used as they protection where the thief can have possession of the device without being informed -and- also keep these from being used by stalkers? I don't see how, and I'm guessing Apple doesn't either (not to mention the issue of liability of you tracking down stolen items) which is probably why Apple has never marketed them as "help me get my stolen shit back" devices.

    If you really want an anti-theft/pro-stalking device there are countless other products to choose from.
    edited May 13 gatorguybeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    I agree that it is basically impossible to fulfil both needs. As with most theft deterrents it's not about making it impossible for a thief to do something about an item being tracked, but to make it sufficiently more hassle than an alternative item. So if, for example, you put an AirTag on your bike, it might not be about the thief never knowing the bike is tracked, but to make it sufficiently harder to remove/disable the AirTag on bike. The vast majority of thefts are opportunity thefts and so in that sense it might even be better for the thief to KNOW the bike has an AirTag on it, so the thief might move on to an easier target. Sadly, that is how most theft protection works - you can never make it impossible, so just make it harder than most of the others. And thus continues the never ending arms race..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 10
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,838member
    Xed said:
    How exactly do you commenters think that they can be used as they protection where the thief can have possession of the device without being informed -and- also keep these from being used by stalkers? I don't see how, and I'm guessing Apple doesn't either (not to mention the issue of liability of you tracking down stolen items) which is probably why Apple has never marketed them as "help me get my stolen shit back" devices.

    If you really want an anti-theft/pro-stalking device there are countless other products to choose from.

    Maybe Apple doesn't market AirTags as a "get my stolen shit back" device but it's still an excellent use of such a thing and many people use it for just this. I have one in my vehicle for just this case. I don't wanna pay for an additional service when I can use something simple like an AirTag which has already proven to track down people's stolen vehicles. I believe there was even a story here on AI about this very topic.

    Apple should have made it so I have the choice to use it as I want, not how Apple and Google want me to use it. I as the owner and user of the AirTag should be able to disable this anti-stalking protection should I want to and use it like it was before iOS 17.5. It should be enabled by default with the option to disable. That way if the user doesn't know anything about the anti-stalking feature they don't have to know to turn it on to protect them. 
    edited May 14 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 10
    So if you have an AirTag on your keys and you go on a long trip with your friends, will the notifications get really annoying (to your friends)?
  • Reply 8 of 10
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    macxpress said:
    Xed said:
    How exactly do you commenters think that they can be used as they protection where the thief can have possession of the device without being informed -and- also keep these from being used by stalkers? I don't see how, and I'm guessing Apple doesn't either (not to mention the issue of liability of you tracking down stolen items) which is probably why Apple has never marketed them as "help me get my stolen shit back" devices.

    If you really want an anti-theft/pro-stalking device there are countless other products to choose from.
    Maybe Apple doesn't market AirTags as a "get my stolen shit back" device but it's still an excellent use of such a thing and many people use it for just this. I have one in my vehicle for just this case. I don't wanna pay for an additional service when I can use something simple like an AirTag which has already proven to track down people's stolen vehicles. I believe there was even a story here on AI about this very topic.

    Apple should have made it so I have the choice to use it as I want, not how Apple and Google want me to use it. I as the owner and user of the AirTag should be able to disable this anti-stalking protection should I want to and use it like it was before iOS 17.5. It should be enabled by default with the option to disable. That way if the user doesn't know anything about the anti-stalking feature they don't have to know to turn it on to protect them. 
    I use AirTags in my vehicles and other items for this reason, too, but none of that matters in your argument. You have to look it at logically from Apple's standpoint as the one who is selling the product and is liable for it, not just your very narrow PoV that you want to use it in this way and have no intention of stalking anyone.

    If you don't agree with that statement then I'd love for you to  explain to me how Apple can give all customers a choice to use it as an antitheft tracker that will never inform another device that it's with them while also keeping it from ever being used to stalk another human being?

    PS: You lie to claim that you should get to use the device as you want to — and you can, no one is stopping you — but it's Apple's device first and they have a responsibly to their customers and to their bottom line via litigation to consider long before you ever heard of AirTag. They determine how they want it to work. They determine how they want to market it. You, only then, get to determine if you want to purchase their product. If you don't like how they program the device to work then just choose one of the countless other options out there that don't have subscriptions plans and don't inform people that are being stalked. You have options.
    edited May 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 10
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    So if you have an AirTag on your keys and you go on a long trip with your friends, will the notifications get really annoying (to your friends)?
    No, because you presumably also have your iPhone on your person which you'll access periodically on your long trip.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 10
    macxpress said:

    Apple should have made it so I have the choice to use it as I want, not how Apple and Google want me to use it. I as the owner and user of the AirTag should be able to disable this anti-stalking protection should I want to and use it like it was before iOS 17.5. It should be enabled by default with the option to disable. That way if the user doesn't know anything about the anti-stalking feature they don't have to know to turn it on to protect them. 

    Because no stalker would ever think to disable this anti-stalking on the devices they're using to stalk someone. 🤦‍♂️
    gatorguywatto_cobra
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