With an aim to curb unwanted tracking, Apple has announced to make key updates to AirTags that let users keep track of personal items like their keys, wallet, purse, backpack, luggage, and more through the Find My app.
The company said it would soon implement a series of updates to both AirTags and the Find My network, initially beginning with new privacy warnings, alerts, and documentation.
“In an upcoming software update, every user setting up their AirTag for the first time will see a message that clearly states that AirTag is meant to track their own belongings,” said Apple.
They will also be notified that using AirTag to track people without consent is a crime in many regions around the world; AirTag is designed to be detected by victims, and “law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag”.
The warning alerts will make it clear that the AirTag is linked to an Apple ID, that using it to track people is a crime, and that law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag.
Apple also said it’s been actively working with law enforcement on all AirTag-related requests it receives and notes it’s able to provide the account details in response to valid law enforcement requests.
“The alerts system Apple has notifying potential victims of any unwanted tracking has helped shine a light on a problem that existed long before AirTags came on the market,” said Erica Olsen, director of the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
“We are happy Apple is engaging in the conversation about victim safety and are continuing to improve safeguards. We hope others will follow their lead,” Olsen added.
In addition, the company said it heard from users how they received an alert about an “Unknown Accessory Detected”, which made them think an unknown AirTag was tracking them.
Apple will now update this alert to indicate that “AirPods” has been traveling with the user instead of an “Unknown Accessory”.
“What these unwanted tracking alerts are showing us is that Apple’s system is working and, at the same time, raising awareness of this issue,” said Renee Williams, Executive Director, National Center for Victims of Crime.