Apple updated AirTags to fend off unwanted tracking after people said they were being stalked with the devices

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Apple updated AirTags to fend off unwanted tracking after people said they were being stalked with the devices
Apple AirTagsApple
  • Apple announced AirTag updates that will notify people of unwanted tracking sooner and help locate hidden AirTags.
  • A number of people, many of whom are women, have said they were stalked with AirTags.
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Apple has announced new AirTag safety features after a number of people said the tracking devices had been used to stalk them.

The company said Thursday that it will roll out updates later this year to alert people to unwanted tracking sooner and make it easier to find AirTags tracking them without their knowledge.

"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 said in a statement on its website. The company first launched AirTags in April 2021.

In an upcoming software update, first-time AirTag users will see a message that "clearly states that AirTag is meant to track their own belongings, that using AirTag to track people without consent is a crime in many regions around the world, that AirTag is designed to be detected by victims, and that law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag."

Apple will also refine its "Unknown Accessory Detected" alert, which notifies users when AirPods or a third-party Find My Network accessory are detected nearby. The software update will make the alert "indicate that AirPods have been traveling with them instead of an 'Unknown Accessory.'"

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Later this year, Apple plans to roll out other updates designed to boost AirTag security.

The tech giant will update its unwanted tracking alert system to let people know sooner that they may be being followed with an AirTag.

Another update, Precision Finding, will help people subject to unwanted tracking locate unknown AirTags so they can be removed. Users of the iPhone 11, 12, or 13, will be able to use this capability to determine the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when it's in range. In addition, Apple will tune AirTags' sound to play louder tones so unknown tracking devices are easier to find.

The company also says it's working with safety groups and law enforcement to tamp down unwanted tracking, noting in its statement that incidents of AirTag misuse are "rare."

Apple's update announcement comes after a number of people, many of whom are women, reported being stalked by someone using AirTags.

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Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooks Nader said she was tracked for four hours after someone slipped an AirTag into her pocket at a restaurant.

In a viral TikTok in November, one woman said she found an AirTag taped to the inside of her duffel bag after being alerted to an unknown accessory traveling with her. Another woman said she found an AirTag in a wheel well on her car after getting a notification saying, "AirTag Found Moving With You. The location of this AirTag can be seen by the owner."

AirTags have also been misused for theft, authorities say. In December, police in Canada said they'd investigated five incidents in which thieves put AirTags on luxury vehicles to trace them to their owners' driveways and steal them.

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