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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple today released a new "Tracker Detect" app on the Google Play Store, with the app designed to allow Android users to locate AirTags that might be nearby.

airtag-android-1.jpg

According to the app's description, Tracker Detect looks for item trackers that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with the Find My Network, so it will locate AirTags and other Find My-enabled devices like the Chipolo Bluetooth item tracker.

airtag-android-2.jpg

Apple says that Android users can scan to find a nearby AirTag if they think that someone is using an AirTag or another device to track their location. The app is designed to alleviate fears from experts worried that AirTags can be used maliciously to track the location of individuals.

For iPhone users, Apple previously introduced several safety features, including an alert that will let an iPhone user know if an AirTag that does not belong to them is following them. There was no such protection for Android users prior to the introduction of the Tracker Detect app, which Apple said it was working on back in June.

An Apple Support document on the feature says that if the app detects an AirTag or Find My-compatible item tracker nearby for at least 10 minutes, a sound can be used to help locate it. Conducting a scan will reveal any nearby AirTags, and after offering up a tool to play a sound to locate the AirTag, Apple will offer information on how to disable it by removing the battery.

Article Link: Apple Releases 'Tracker Detect' App to Prevent Android Users From Being Tracked by AirTags
 
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tooloud10

macrumors 6502
Aug 14, 2012
424
671
Weird how so many people have been criticizing Apple about detecting unknown AirTags and you never heard anything like that in all the years that Tile has been operating.

I think the rush for ways to detect unknown AirTags actually makes them significantly less useful. I was able to recover a stolen item worth over $2k because of an AirTag--the thief was charged and currently in jail but if my AirTag had alerted him to its presence it would have defeated the whole point.
 

nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
214
772
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If they were tracking at all times they would be blamed for privacy issues.
I think its important to make the distinction between tracking and tracker detection. The android app does not detect trackers without the user prompting it. Thats my problem. Its not about tracking at all times/privacy from tracking at all times. It's about the potential for someone to slip a tracker in an andoird users' pocket and let them walk off without any idea. Even if they were aware of this app and had it installed on their phone, it wouldn't do squat diddly unless they were paranoid enough to open it frequently. Thats the problem here.
 

nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
214
772
Apple sure is making it as hard as possible to use this technology to track down stolen items.

This was like, the number one potential use of Airtags and they totally nerfed it.
They're tryna nerf the stalking potential. But their solution is toothless.
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,732
2,424
"Hey we built a product that might track you... But it's okay, just download and install this app, and run it, like, once or twice a day or so I guess."
 
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nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
214
772
Weird how so many people have been criticizing Apple about detecting unknown AirTags and you never heard anything like that in all the years that Tile has been operating.

I think the rush for ways to detect unknown AirTags actually makes them significantly less useful. I was able to recover a stolen item worth over $2k because of an AirTag--the thief was charged and currently in jail but if my AirTag had alerted him to its presence it would have defeated the whole point.
Apple will probably beat out tile in market share here pretty quick. But you're right, this has always been an issue. I think its a bit of "squeaky wheel gets the grease". Apple is huge, has media outlets constantly waiting with baited breath, and opinion pieces get funded by click bait-y titles. Its a recipe for this type of heightened (overly so?) awareness of the problem.
 

nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
214
772
"Hey we built a product that might track you... But it's okay, just download and install this app, and run it, like, once or twice a day or so I guess."
Yeah. Exactly. Add to that the 7 months that went by where this app didn't exist.
 
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hansenc

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2004
500
166
Apple will probably beat out tile in market share here pretty quick. But you're right, this has always been an issue. I think its a bit of "squeaky wheel gets the grease". Apple is huge, has media outlets constantly waiting with baited breath, and opinion pieces get funded by click bait-y titles. Its a recipe for this type of heightened (overly so?) awareness of the problem.
The other issue I think is Apple has enabled the tracking of their tags using a massive network of devices making them way more useful than a Tile. So while Tile could have done the same thing it just didn't have the same size network to actually detect devices and make it as useful.
 
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nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
214
772
The other issue I think is Apple has enabled the tracking of their tags using a massive network of devices making them way more useful than a Tile. So while Tile could have done the same thing it just didn't have the same size network to actually detect devices and make it as useful.
Absolutely. The whole issue of sheer scale makes it useful, but also makes it dangerous.
 
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jarman92

macrumors 65816
Nov 13, 2014
1,016
2,971
Apple sure is making it as hard as possible to use this technology to track down stolen items.

This was like, the number one potential use of Airtags and they totally nerfed it.

For roughly the 10,000th time, AirTags are not for tracking stolen items. They are for locating lost items.

Apple is very explicit about this. If you want to track stolen items, you should look elsewhere.
 

rorschach

macrumors 68020
Jul 27, 2003
2,157
912
Each and every update are making apple AirTags less useful in tracking items that might have been intentionally stolen.
Well that's the thing, AirTag was never designed to track intentionally stolen items. It's been marketed from the beginning as a way to find lost items, like your keys under the couch or a bag you left at a restaurant. That's not to say it can't be used to find something that was stolen, but it's never been sold that way.

For anything sufficiently valuable, you're probably better off insuring it in some way rather than relying on a $29 consumer tracking gadget.
 

nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
214
772
Well that's the thing, AirTag was never designed to track intentionally stolen items. It's been marketed from the beginning as a way to find lost items, like your keys under the couch or a bag you left at a restaurant. That's not to say it can't be used to find something that was stolen, but it's never been sold that way.

For anything sufficiently valuable, you're probably better off insuring it in some way rather than relying on a $29 consumer tracking gadget.
its almost like they thought they could avoid this issue by just not mentioning it.
 
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Koinu

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2006
18
9
So I'm *really* confused by this. If someone steals something of mine that has an AirTag attached, what now prevents the thief from using this App (or any other mechanism that allows him to detect nearby Tags that aren't his) to determine that the object has my Tag on it, cause it to beep (so he can find it), and then remove and destroy it? Wouldn't thieves now routinely do this to find out if something they've taken has an AirTag attached?

How is there any way to determine whether an AirTag in proximity to me is there because I stole something (with an AirTag legitimately attached by the owner) or because someone placed it surreptitiously on me?

This would seem to render AirTags pretty useless for their whole intended purpose... no?
 
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