Apple is working to address issues with AirTags, specifically bad actors using them in ways the company never intended.
AirTags are a recent Apple product designed to be put on objects to more easily keep track of them. AirTags can be placed on keyrings, phones, in bags and backpacks, all in an effort to find them using Apple’s Find My app.
Unfortunately, soon after their release, reports emerged of people using AirTags for creepy and illegal purposes. The devices have been used to track cars that criminals want to steal, or to stalk an individual. Needless to say, this is not what Apple had in mind when they released the product.
The company is now making some changes in an effort to thwart such behavior. Apple says its discussions with law enforcement have revealed the instances of AirTag misuse are rare.
Based on our knowledge and on discussions with law enforcement, incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many.
Apple will be working to improve privacy warnings during setup, reminding users of the intent behind AirTags and that misuse of them is a crime.
The company has also explained that the “Unknown Accessory Detected” message some users have reported does not indicate that an unknown AirTag is present nearby. Instead, that message refers to a set of unpaired AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or some other third-party Find My accessory. Apple will improve those notifications to explicitly say it is a set of unpaired AirPods, a far less scary notification than the current one.
Apple is also significantly improving the iPhone’s ability to find unwanted AirTags, adding Precision Finding to help users quickly find the small device. Users will also be able to force the AirTag to play a sound to make it even easier to spot them.
The new measures will hopefully help protect users, while allowing legitimate users to continue using the devices as intended.