Apple has released Tracker Detect, a new Android app designed to help those without an iOS device find out if someone is using an AirTag or other Find My-compatible device to snoop on their location. When the software finds a nearby AirTag that has been separated from its owner, it will mark it as an ‘Unknown AirTag’. Then, if it follows you for 10 minutes, you can use the app to tell the tracker to play a sound, making it easier to find. At that point, you can tap the device with your NFC-enabled phone and you’ll be instructed to remove the battery or otherwise turn it off.
You do not need an Apple account to use the app. As mentioned above, it can also detect Find My compatible trackers such as the Chipolo One Spot. “AirTag offers industry-leading privacy and security features, and today we’re extending new capabilities to Android devices. Tracker Detect gives Android users the ability to scan for any AirTag or supported Find My enabled item trackers that may be traveling with them without their knowledge,” an Apple spokesperson told Engadget. “We are raising the bar on privacy. our users and the industry higher and hope others will follow.”
The release of Tracker Detect comes after multiple incidents of bad actors misusing AirTags to stalk people. In Canada, for example, police recently warned against thieves using the $29 device to steal expensive cars. In June, in a separate effort to limit abuse, Apple updated its trackers to play a sound between eight and 24 hours after being separated from their owner, rather than three days as was the case with the launch.
How much good Tracker Detect does in protecting people depends on how many people download it. Unlike iOS, which sends proactive alerts when it detects erroneous AirTags, this is an app you need to install on your Android device. The protections aren’t built into Android, at least not yet.
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