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Update December 13: This change did not make it into the final release of iOS 15.2, but may reappear in a future update.


In iOS 15.2, which is available in beta right now, Apple introduced new features for the Find My app, including a way to search for items that might be used to track your location.

FindMy-Feature.jpg

The new Unknown Items feature is called "Items That Can Track Me," and when activated, it will scan for anything that's nearby that belongs to someone else and let you know about it.

If anything is detected, such as an AirTag or other Find My-enabled item, Apple will provide you with more details on the item and instructions on how to disable it so that it can no longer be used for tracking purposes.

The following steps show you how to activate the feature in iOS 15.2. Note that items can only be found if they are not in range of their owner's device, up to 50 meters.
  1. Launch the Find My app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Items tab at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Drag the items card further up onto the screen using the small pill-shaped handle to reveal more options.
  4. Tap Items That Can Track Me.
    find-my-items-that-track-me1.jpg

    Tap the Search button.
    Look at the list titled "Items Detected Near You." If a device is discovered, tap it for more information.
    If it's an AirTag, you can tap Play Sound to more exactly locate it. You can also tap Learn More About This AirTag to see if its owner has added contact details in case the item is lost. If you want to disable the AirTag to prevent it from potentially tracking you, tap Instructions to Disable AirTag and follow the instructions to remove the battery.
    find-my-items-that-track-me3.jpg
‌AirTags‌ and items with ‌Find My‌ integration are meant to allow users to track their lost devices, but there have been concerns that ‌AirTags‌ can be planted on people for stalking purposes. To prevent stalking with ‌AirTags‌ and other devices, Apple has implemented several safety measures.

‌AirTags‌ are designed to start playing a sound between eight and 24 hours after being separated from their owner, and iPhone users are alerted if an AirTag is traveling with them. Apple is also working on an Android app that will let Android users detect an unknown AirTag or ‌Find My‌ network-enabled item to prevent ‌AirTags‌ from being used to stalk Android users.

Article Link: iOS 15.2 Beta: How to Use Find My to Locate Items That Can Track You
 
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corksta

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2017
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105
Auckland
I’d like to know how this is going to work when travelling on a plane, train, bus. In theory you’ll be able to play a sound from any AirTag near you, as well as see the contact info of the owner if they’ve enabled it?
 
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timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
215
705
Edinburgh, UK
This article has a poor explanation, missing some crucial information. So if I can disable someone’s AirTag near me and away from the owner, does that mean the owner cant find it anymore? Explain that. Surely that’s not how it would work.
If you remove the battery from the unknown AirTag then yes, the owner will not be able to find it, all they would have to go on is the location it was last detected before the battery was removed.

I thought this would have been obvious but I am happy to add it to the article.
 
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simon3163

macrumors member
Mar 18, 2009
61
50
Thank god nobody has an AirTag tracking me in Europe and Africa!
 

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H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68040
Jun 19, 2010
3,246
3,792
Pittsburgh PA
Hmm, this basically means airtags are no good for securing items - they're only going to be good for "lost" things.

For example, if someone steals my bike which has an airtag attached to it - all they need to do is go 50m scan for tracking devices and disable it - not cool.

That's of my concern as well. I was considering grabbing a pack to put in my bags, but if someone can just turn them off, what's the point?
 

Tempor_aka

macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2021
29
14
AirTag was never meant and was never positioned to secure items, that was clear from the beginning ... if you only realise this now, where the hell where you guys living??!! It's finding your lost items or give people a chance to signal back to you when they found one of your Tags ... If you want a tracking/stalking device, find something else ...
 

joshwenke

macrumors 6502
Mar 26, 2011
285
1,112
This article has a poor explanation, missing some crucial information. So if I can disable someone’s AirTag near me and away from the owner, does that mean the owner cant find it anymore? Explain that. Surely that’s not how it would work.
You can't just press a button and wirelessly disable AirTags around you. The instructions would be to take out the battery of the AirTag you don't recognize.
 
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jlc1978

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2009
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I’d like to know how this is going to work when travelling on a plane, train, bus. In theory you’ll be able to play a sound from any AirTag near you, as well as see the contact info of the owner if they’ve enabled it?

It should still be close enough to not respond.

When in a plane and in airplane mode, the AirTag does not know it is near its owner.

If airplane mode is properly enabled, it would not receive or send a signal. Not sure how AirTags use it.

This article has a poor explanation, missing some crucial information. So if I can disable someone’s AirTag near me and away from the owner, does that mean the owner cant find it anymore? Explain that. Surely that’s not how it would work.

You can't disable the AirTag, only it's ability to use your phone to report location. If you are the only phone close enough to respond then yes, you disable teh Find Me feature until another phone gets close enough.

So all a thief needs to do is use this feature and they can prevent the owner from finding the stolen goods?

Kinda lame if so. I hope apple gets this figured out.

That was my thought as well. Not only can a their check for trackers, but disable them from using their phone to track it.

Hmm, this basically means airtags are no good for securing items - they're only going to be good for "lost" things.

For example, if someone steals my bike which has an airtag attached to it - all they need to do is go 50m scan for tracking devices and disable it - not cool.

Better yet - go 50 meters, have it play a sound so if it is hidden it can be located. Toss teh AirTag in the trash, stick it on a car or bus, etc. Even if someone isn't interested in stealing it it opens up a new pranking scenario.

I think Apple clearly does not care about the ability to use AirTags to recover stolen property over their potential use for stalking and the negative publicity it would generate if someone used them for tat and harmed someone.

On a separate note? Why just AirTags? How about beacons used to track movement?
 

incoherent_1

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2016
1,160
2,219
Hmm, this basically means airtags are no good for securing items - they're only going to be good for "lost" things.

For example, if someone steals my bike which has an airtag attached to it - all they need to do is go 50m scan for tracking devices and disable it - not cool.
Exactly. Not a good look. I’m not happy that Apple is actively removing utility from these devices after I’ve purchased them.

Before with the “traveling with you” warnings, at least then the owner of a stolen item would have 1-2 hours to discover it was stolen before the tracker was disabled. Now a thief can actively target valuables and disable a tracker before the theft has even occurred. Apple definitely taking its “tracking/stalking” paranoia about 5 steps too far.
 

bookofxero

macrumors 6502
Dec 31, 2017
367
578
Hmm, this basically means airtags are no good for securing items - they're only going to be good for "lost" things.

For example, if someone steals my bike which has an airtag attached to it - all they need to do is go 50m scan for tracking devices and disable it - not cool.
"It'S nOt An AnTi-ThEfT dEvIcE!"
OK, now that we have that out of the way:
there really should be better options for safeguarding something like a bike.
 
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Tempor_aka

macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2021
29
14
Exactly. Not a good look. I’m not happy that Apple is actively removing utility from these devices after I’ve purchased them.

Before with the “traveling with you” warnings, at least then the owner of a stolen item would have 1-2 hours to discover it was stolen before the tracker was disabled. Now a thief can actively target valuables and disable a tracker before the theft has even occurred. Apple definitely taking its “tracking/stalking” paranoia about 5 steps too far.
The AirTag is only disabled for your devices, if you where on planning to steal you would remove the AirTag all together. As long as the owner is in the neighbourhood, you cannot disable it for your devices ... Mind you if you disable it and steal it, and pas other people with iOS devices the tag will still report back to owner ... so really Apple did not remove anything, and the warning/disable tracking for you personally was already present from launch day ... all they do in this update make you go back and check ... nothing more noting less ... Again, this is not a device to secure items, it was never positioned that way, it's to help you find lost devices ...
 

Robin Bonathan

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2020
116
239
"It'S nOt An AnTi-ThEfT dEvIcE!"
OK, now that we have that out of the way:
there really should be better options for safeguarding something like a bike.
I watched a video in newspaper the other day of guy which battery powered grinder cut off the lock.
It was a very expensive bike (over 5K USD).
Unless to have tracker on it now.
 
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jlc1978

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2009
4,281
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The AirTag is only disabled for your devices, if you where on planning to steal you would remove the AirTag all together. As long as the owner is in the neighbourhood, you cannot disable it for your devices ... Mind you if you disable it and steal it, and pas other people with iOS devices the tag will still report back to owner

The key is the ability to cause it to make a sound to make it easy to locate for removal.

Again, this is not a device to secure items, it was never positioned that way, it's to help you find lost devices ...

I agree, but Apple is really parsing a fine line between the difference of lost vs. stolen.

I watched a video in newspaper the other day of guy which battery powered grinder cut off the lock.
It was a very expensive bike (over 5K USD).
Unless to have tracker on it now.

Sounds like a pro who knew what they wanted and targeted it. Hard to stop that kind of theft, tracker or no tracker.
 

Thomas Davie

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2004
460
182
If you remove the battery from the unknown AirTag then yes, the owner will not be able to find it, all they would have to go on is the location it was last detected before the battery was removed.

I thought this would have been obvious but I am happy to add it to the article.

In university exams, we were required to leave personal possessins, such as knapsacks, backpcks or purses at the front of the exam room. In early year (1 or 2 of degree) the class sizes could be quite large and there could easily be situations where an airtag Bob is closer ro Sam then Bob. Sam scans and sets off an alarm. In exam.

A not very common scenario true. Just something to watch out for.

Tom
 
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