HomeWinBuzzer NewsApple and Google Introduce Bluetooth Tracker Alerts in iOS and Android

Apple and Google Introduce Bluetooth Tracker Alerts in iOS and Android

Apple and Google team up for iOS 17.5 update with new feature to alert users about unwanted tracking devices following them, regardless of phone brand.

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has released iOS 17.5, which includes a new feature to alert users about unwanted location trackers traveling with them. This development is part of a joint effort between Apple and Google to create an industry specification aimed at preventing the misuse of Bluetooth-based location trackers. The specification, titled “Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers,” enables both and iOS devices to notify users if a Bluetooth-enabled tracker is being used to monitor their movements without consent.

Cross-Platform Tracker Alerts

Apple's blog post reveals that the new capability is now active in iOS 17.5, while is rolling out the feature for devices running Android 6.0 and above. The two tech giants are continuing their collaboration to establish an official standard for this technology. Alerts for unwanted tracking devices will appear as notifications stating, “[Item] Found Moving With You.” These alerts function independently of the operating system to which the tracking device is paired. For instance, an iPhone can notify its user about a Bluetooth tracker paired with an Android device, display the tracker's identifier, play a sound to help locate it, and provide instructions for disabling it if necessary.

Broad Compatibility and Manufacturer Support

The tracking notifications are compatible with Apple's AirTags, Find My network accessories, and third-party Bluetooth trackers that follow the new specification. Several Bluetooth tag manufacturers, including Pebblebee, Motorola, Jio, eufy, and Chipolo, have committed to ensuring their future products support this standard.

The initiative to develop tracking notifications stems from early misuse of Apple's AirTag, where malicious actors used the device to steal vehicles and stalk individuals, including those using Android devices. The situation prompted Apple to integrate unwanted accessory detection into its software and release an anti-stalking app for Android users. Google's Find My Device network, which launched earlier this year in the US and Canada, has been delayed to incorporate Apple's unwanted tracking detection capabilities into its software.

OS-Level Approach and Industry Collaboration

The new industry standard announced on Monday takes an OS-level approach to addressing the issue of unwanted Bluetooth trackers. Apple and Google say they will continue to work with the Internet Engineering Task Force, a standards organization for the internet, via the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers working group to develop the official standard for this technology.

Evolution of AirTags and Tracker Detect App

When Apple launched AirTags, they were quickly adopted as a way to track the location of everyday items like keys. To address the misuse of AirTags, Apple released a “Tracker Detect” Android app in 2021 to help people who don't own Apple products to identify unexpected AirTags near them. By implementing these measures, Apple and Google aim to enhance user privacy and security, providing a unified approach to detecting and mitigating the risks associated with Bluetooth-based location trackers.

SourceApple
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.