Google & Apple Team Up: Introducing Anti-Stalking AirTag Alerts on Android
Aiming to counteract the misuse of tracking technology, Google and Apple join forces to rollout automatic AirTag alerts for Android devices.
Google, in collaboration with Apple, has begun the rollout of automatic AirTag alerts for Android. This feature will detect unknown Bluetooth trackers—initially limited to AirTags—in the proximity of Android devices running 6.0 and above. The update is part of an initiative to counteract misuse of tracking technologies and to prevent potential stalking.
Features and Functionality
Upon detecting an unknown tracker moving with an Android user, an alert is sent to their device. The notification provides a map of the tracker's movement and a "play sound" option to locate it, without alerting the tracker's owner. Additional information about the owner, such as their serial number or partial phone number, may be revealed by bringing the tracker near the back of the phone. Users can also disable the tracker, effectively stopping further location updates.
Manual Scan Option
The update includes a manual scan feature for proactive tracking detection, accessed through Settings > Safety & emergency > Unknown tracker alerts. The scanning process completes in about 10 seconds, aiding users to actively check for trackers.
While tools like Apple's AirTag are created to locate lost items, they have been repurposed by malicious actors for illicit tracking. Google, despite not producing its own Bluetooth tags, has responded to this issue by launching the safety update in partnership with multiple corporations.
Google plans to extend this feature to other products like the Tile Mate. At present, the Android Help website provides instructions for disabling only AirTags. Google has also postponed the rollout of the "Find My Device" network, awaiting similar protective measures from Apple for iOS devices.
This concerted move by Google and Apple illustrates tech giants' responsiveness to privacy concerns arising from their products. The new feature enhances control over personal safety, heralding a significant stride towards the prevention of unwanted tracking.