Apple announces AirTag, Find My changes to cut down on stalking & misuse

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 10
Apple has announced that it will be making several updates to its Find My network to cut down on instances of AirTag trackers being used for stalking or crime.

Apple AirTag alert
Apple AirTag alert


The Cupertino tech giant will implement a number of changes in an upcoming software update, including adding a new warning advising users during the setup stage that AirTags are linked to their Apple ID and that stalking is a crime.

Additionally, Apple said it would fix a confusing bug with accessory alerts. The "Unknown Accessory Detected" alert, for example, only shows up for certain AirPods or Find My accessories -- not AirTags. Going forward, Apple says it will implement a new message letting users know if an AirTag has been traveling with them.

Apple has also updated its unwanted tracking support document on Thursday to reflect some of the new and existing safety features built into AirTags and other Find My-enabled accessories.

While those updates are coming soon, the iPhone maker also announced that it is investigating some other changes that it plans to introduce later in 2022.

These other updates include a new Precision Finding that will allow iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users to detect and locate unwanted AirTags with Precision Finding.

Apple says it's also working on a feature to alert users of an unwanted AirTag's presence on their own iOS devices. These on-device notifications will also allow them to take action, such as playing a sound on the AirTag or using Precision Finding to locate it.





Other significant updates include tuning the AirTag's tone sequence to make it easier to find and changes to unwanted tracking alert logic that should alert users to an unwanted tracker sooner.

"We design our products to provide a great experience, but also with safety and privacy in mind," Apple wrote. "Across Apple's hardware, software, and services teams, we're committed to listening to feedback and innovating to make improvements that continue to guard against unwanted tracking."

AirTags have been used to deter theft and track shady movers, but reports also indicate that the tracking accessories have been used for stalking.

Apple says it is working with law enforcement on AirTag misuse, which it says is rare. However, it added that "each instance is one too many."

"AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products," Apple wrote.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Can you fix it so my whole family can see where my car keys are?
    tokyojimuwilliamlondonlolliverchadbagjeffythequickapplebynaturelukeiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 39
    SHKSHK Posts: 15member
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued. The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product. But I hope I'm wrong...
     
    williamlondoncrowleymacplusplus
  • Reply 3 of 39
    XedXed Posts: 1,449member
    SHK said:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued. The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product. But I hope I'm wrong...
    No it won't.
    williamlondondewmemike1caladanianradarthekatStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Leave it to humans to turn any useful tool into a malicious force.

    Have there been any instances of hacked Airpods in the wild that can circumvent the safeguards?

    MisterKitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 39
    atomic101 said:
    Leave it to humans to turn any useful tool into a malicious force.

    Have there been any instances of hacked Airpods in the wild that can circumvent the safeguards?

    There were reports of AirTags on Etsy or eBay with disabled speakers. Apple needs to make it more difficult to hack the AirTags but bad actors will always find a way. 
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 39
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    SHK said:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued. The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product. But I hope I'm wrong...
     
    More likely is a class action lawsuit alleging Apple’s negligent disregard of its customer’s privacy and safety. You know how lawyers are.
    edited February 10 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 39
    It only takes a few to ruin things for the many.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 39
    SHK said:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued. The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product. But I hope I'm wrong...
     
    You are and will continue to be wrong. If people are so worried about stalking, cell phones and social media are worse perpetrators. 
    radarthekatiyfcalvinStrangeDayspatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 39
    clexman said:
    Can you fix it so my whole family can see where my car keys are?
    Seriously, if they can see where my AirPods are, why not things I designate?

    On the staking thing, I'm glad Apple is making their products safer, but even when car companies make their products safer, a bad person can use them to run people over.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 39
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,957member
    SHK said:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued. The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product. But I hope I'm wrong...
     
    No it won't, and yes you're wrong.

    Stalking has been around since the beginning of mankind.  AirTags may make it easier, but before that there were GPS devices that stalkers were using as well.  
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 39
    I don't see any uproar over Tiles lack of any real antistalking measures, in order to discover a nefarious tile you first need to install the Tile app.
    patchythepirateGeorgeBMacchasm
  • Reply 12 of 39
    @fastasleep @crowley ;
    Remember "You’ll see" a month ago?
    Eat your lil Valentine hearts out, boys.
     :* 

    (…and there's even more fixes in the background than any good user needs to know.)
    edited February 11 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 39
    SHK said:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued. The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product. But I hope I'm wrong...
     
    And yet all the other Bluetooth trackers, which have been around for much longer and also capable of being used for stalking, never get as mention in the press. 
    SHKchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 39
    @fastasleep @crowley ;
    Remember "You’ll see" a month ago?
    Eat your lil Valentine hearts out, boys.
     :* 

    (…and there's even more fixes in the background than any good user needs to know.)
    Cool story, bro
  • Reply 15 of 39
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,143member
    @fastasleep @crowley ;
    Remember "You’ll see" a month ago?
    Eat your lil Valentine hearts out, boys.
     :* 

    (…and there's even more fixes in the background than any good user needs to know.)
    What am I supposed to be remembering?  Did I claim that Apple would never update the AirTags?  I highly doubt that.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    SHK said:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again:
    (1) We are one headline away from AirTags being permanently discontinued.
    (2) The constant barrage of STALKING, STALKING and more STALKING news will absolutely chip away at Apple's support for this product.
    (3) But I hope I'm wrong...
    Everyone is saying you are wrong. 

    Your statement (1) is, if you are talking about the whole world, going to become true in some country. If you are talking about the US, then probably not.
    Your statement (2) is definitely true. Apple's reputation will be damaged by negative headlines, whether the headlines are true or not.
    Your statement (3) is indisputably true. Nobody can even question that statement.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 39
    The Cupertino tech giant will implement... a new warning advising users during the setup stage that ... stalking is a crime.
    If Apple is going to start giving legal advice, it better be right in each country. If it gives false legal advice, it could be sued.

    It's probably perfectly legal in many dictatorships that Apple sells products in for a husband to stalk his wife using an AirTag.
  • Reply 18 of 39
    crowley said:
    @fastasleep @crowley ;
    Remember "You’ll see" a month ago?
    Eat your lil Valentine hearts out, boys.
     :* 

    (…and there's even more fixes in the background than any good user needs to know.)
    What am I supposed to be remembering?  Did I claim that Apple would never update the AirTags?  I highly doubt that.
    Some nonsense about how they were smarter than Apple, and told them how to fix AirTags (and they ostensibly gave them the time of day) is now pointing at this post as if this proves anything. (lol)

    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/comment/3353393/#Comment_3353393
  • Reply 19 of 39
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,143member
    crowley said:
    @fastasleep @crowley ;
    Remember "You’ll see" a month ago?
    Eat your lil Valentine hearts out, boys.
     :* 

    (…and there's even more fixes in the background than any good user needs to know.)
    What am I supposed to be remembering?  Did I claim that Apple would never update the AirTags?  I highly doubt that.
    Some nonsense about how they were smarter than Apple, and told them how to fix AirTags (and they ostensibly gave them the time of day) is now pointing at this post as if this proves anything. (lol)

    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/comment/3353393/#Comment_3353393
    Lol, so the "beautiful solution that fulfills both these use cases" was an incremental update with slightly better feedback but that nerfs using AirTags for finding stolen things?  What a clown.
    muthuk_vanalingamfastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 39
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    This is a good step.   It will slow down the use of AirTags to stalk.
    But, the main step has yet to be taken:   Once the offending AirTag is found, make the AppleID (and the contact info -- including the IMEI number of the person's phone) tied to the AirTag available to police via a warrant -- so the police can stalk the stalker.

    Stalking, like all crime in non-third-world countries, can only survive under a cloak of secrecy.   Lift that cloak and shine the light of day on it for it to be seen and it cannot survive.
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