Apple’s iOS 15.2 will look to quell fears its AirTag item trackers can be used to stalk unsuspecting individuals.
The latest beta version of the software includes the option to scan for rogue AirTags, potentially giving peace of mind to iPhone owners worried a tracker may have been planted on their person.
Within the Find My app, there’s a new “unknown items” option that can scan for “items that can track me.” Of course, AirTags would be one of those (via MacRumors).
The in-beta future enables users to perform a quick search of their surroundings “when you think a nearby item is used to track your location.” If any unwanted AirTags are detected, the Find My app will provide instructions on how to disable them.
The new feature is also capable of acting as a Good Samaritan for people who believe they’ve accidentally left their tracked item somewhere. For example, scanning the nearby area could help a friend, who just left the pub you’re in, find the item they’re looking for.
The unknown items feature, which may or may not make it into the final iOS 15.2 release, is another effort from Apple to assuage the fears of those concerned about the safety of the AirTags devices.
Because the devices don’t just use Bluetooth for tracking, and can rely on the entire Find My network of Apple devices to provide real time location data, many critics have said these trackers are just as good at tracking people.
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In its initial review in May, the Washington Post said AirTags made it “frighteningly easy” to stalk people. “AirTags are a new means of inexpensive, effective stalking. I know because I tested AirTags by letting a Washington Post colleague pretend to stalk me,” the review said.
Since then Apple has significantly shortened the amount of time it takes to play an alert when the AirTag is out of the possession of its owner – and possibly planted on an unsuspecting person.
It now plays a noise within eight hours and again within 24 hours. Previously, it would have taken three days of being separated from its registered owner in order to start ringing.