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A month after its release Apple’s Airtags proved themselves to be incredibly effective and powerful, and while this is great for owners, it has raised alarm for those concerned about being surreptitiously tracked by Apple’s massive Find My network.
Apple attempted to address these concerns even before launch by playing an alarm 3 days after an Airtag is separated from its owner and alerting iPhone owners if an Airtag which does not belong to them appears to be travelling with them for many hours.
Unfortunately, 3 days is a pretty long time to be tracked, and the later protection is only available for iPhone owners.
Apple has responded to the feedback by updating all Airtags with a new policy. Now the alarm will start playing at a random time of between 8 and 24 hrs after being separated from its owner, rather than 3 days. Apple also promised to release an Android app so Android users can detect if they are being tracked.
While these fixes appear to be helpful, it seems unlikely that the vast majority of Android users would install Apple’s app, while the speaker on the Airtag is pretty easy to disable by simply removing the magnet, meaning these changes do not significantly reduce the risk of Android users being tracked. A more effective solution would be an open standard that is supported by both Apple and Google.
It appears however that Apple is at least making an effort, which should, of course, be lauded.