Apple is significantly altering the way its AirTag tracking system works. The company has apparently made the tweaks and modifications after taking user feedback into consideration.
The Apple AirTag and Find My network is undergoing several changes, apparently to improve the privacy of users. Additionally, Apple Inc. has also realized that Android smartphone users too will need an Apple AirTag app.
Apple is rolling out AirTag firmware update to boost user privacy:
Apple Inc. has begun sending out updates to its AirTag trackers. Any AirTag within close proximity of an Apple iPhone will automatically grab and install the new security and privacy-focused update.
The new update for the trackers will modify some key aspects of the tracker as well as the Find My Network. Apple is adjusting the time it takes for the trackers to sound an alert after they separate from their owner.
— Ian Sherr (@iansherr) June 3, 2021
Initially, the Apple device would sound an alarm in three days. Now, it will alert users at a random time inside a time window that lasts anywhere between 8 and 24 hours.
Speaking about the change, Apple Inc. said: “The recent introduction of AirTag included industry-first proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking”.
The new update has arrived a month after AirTag went on sale for $29 a piece or $99 for a four-pack. Several social media influencers praised the new device, and more importantly, the Find My network.
#Apple is reportedly working to increase the privacy of #AirTag, which includes the planned launch of an #Android app that will allow non-#iPhone users to detect an unwanted tracking accessory. https://t.co/TXCeJxHgWA pic.twitter.com/LE3hsky5hT
— AppleInsider (@appleinsider) June 3, 2021
Apple has designed the physical trackers to work with the company’s Find My network. The platform benefits from a billion Apple-branded devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers.
The trackers use a combination of onboard sensors and wireless signals to help owners identify and locate items. An iOS app pinpoints location getting the tracker to emit a sound and showing compass-like direction arrows.
— 9to5Mac.com (@9to5mac) June 3, 2021
While the technology is highly promising and convenient, there are some privacy concerns. Quite a few privacy advocates claimed the Apple trackers could also help stalk people.
The new update essentially randomizes alerts to alert a nonowner about its presence. There’s also a warning that flashes on an iPhone if it’s in the vicinity.
AirTag to get an Android app as well but it will have limited functionality:
The combination of AirTag and Find My Network is quite effective in tracking lost items. However, the same could also help only Apple-branded device owners to quietly track people.
Apple has announced they are developing an app for Android devices that will help people “detect” an AirTag or Find My network-enabled device that may also be unsuspectedly “traveling” with them. The app will be released later this year. #Apple #AirTag pic.twitter.com/c2SJrfrvwr
— Silicon Bulletin (@siliconbulletin) June 3, 2021
Realizing that Android smartphone owners are vulnerable to tracking, Apple is reportedly developing an app for Android smartphone users.
— iDownloadBlog (@iDownloadBlog) June 3, 2021
The Android app for Apple AirTag will obviously have extremely limited functionality. It will alert Android users about an AirTag potentially moving with them. Moreover, the app will also detect other Find My-enabled accessories.
It is quite clear that Apple AirTag will not work as well with an Android device as they do with an iOS iPhone. However, the Android app would obviously help Android smartphone users assist in tagging and recovery of the item to which the AirTag is attached.