Some of the new AirTag anti-stalking features have made their way into latest iOS 15.4 beta
Ever since Apple’s item tracker, the AirTag, was released, there were some concerns it may be used by malicious users for stalking or tracking purposes.
With that, in recent months there have been multiple accounts of people finding an unwanted AirTag somewhere in their stuff or reporting being stalked with an AirTag. Because of such accounts, many concerns were raised and Apple announced some new anti-stalking features. Now, AppleInsider reports some of them are starting to show up in iOS 15.4 beta.
Some of the new AirTag anti-stalking features are present in the latest iOS 15.4 beta
Back at the beginning of this month, Apple announced a few changes and updates for AirTags meant to boost its anti-stalking features, in response to growing concerns about AirTag misuse. At the time, the announcement stated that these features will make their way in a future update, but Cupertino didn’t specify when. Now, however, early reports about the fourth beta version of the iOS 15.4 version have found some of the promised changes to AirTag’s anti-stalking system.
Let’s explore what Apple has included in iOS 15.4 beta version four from the announced security measures. First off, Apple has added new messaging to the AirTag setup screen. The message indicates that “using [an AirTag] to track people without their consent is a crime in many regions around the world”, giving a warning to potentially malicious users.
The warning also notes that AirTag is designed to be detectable by victims and to enable law enforcement to identify its owner, which should pretty much discourage a stalker from trying to use the item tracking device in the wrong way.
Other AirTag changes are also present in the latest beta for iOS 15.4. One of them is a fix for a bug that was confusing users, and more specifically, the “Unknown Accessory Alert”, which was triggered by various AirPods or Find My accessories instead of AirTags.
But that’s not all. Apple has also included other minor changes with this beta version. One such change is removing the possibility to disable Item Safety Alerts. Now Apple has added options that will allow you to customize tracking notifications and Find My network notifications instead.
These anti-stalking features, which will likely be officially released with the official release of iOS 15.4, are just a part of a broader number of features that Apple has planned for preventing AirTag misuse.
More anti-stalking features for AirTag are coming aimed at preventing AirTag misuse
Later in 2022, Apple will be releasing other additional anti-stalking features, like Precision Finding for unknown AirTags, which will allow your iPhone (available for iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users) to see the distance and direction to an unknown AirTag when it is in range. On top of that, Apple has planned to release a more noticeable AirTag beeping.
Apple’s AirTag has been preventing some crimes
Although there were some reports that could raise concerns about AirTag misuse, such as the case with one swimsuit model who reported she was being tracked for hours before being alerted, AirTag is mainly reported to have prevented crimes from occurring instead of causing them.One such recent example is the case when AirTag helped arrest a stalker and therefore prevent a more serious crime from happening.
This case specifically happened after a Pennsylvania woman received an alert on her iPhone that an AirTag was moving with her. She then notified the police after discovering the item tracker in her vehicle’s trailer hitch. And then, the stalker got arrested.
It appears in this particular case, the stalker had a history with the victim, who had a protection-from-abuse order against him. He denied involvement in placing the AirTag and reportedly deleted the AirTag from his iPhone in front of a police officer!
So, as it seems, it’s not all bad about the AirTags after all. And with the features planned for further securing the AirTag system, it will prove to be not as harmful as some might have thought.
We’d love to hear from you! Do you think AirTag could be a threat to security or more a device that could potentially prevent crimes? Share your opinion in the comments!