Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession.
At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will begin playing at a random time in a window after eight hours and within 24 hours.
Apple is also working to create an app for Android devices that will let them detect an unknown AirTag or Find My network-enabled item that is found to be traveling with them, which will prevent AirTags from being used to stalk Android users.
AirTags are designed to play a sound when away from their owner and will also alert iPhone owners if there’s an unknown tag nearby, but Apple has been criticized because it’s anti-stalking measures do not go far enough. The Washington Post‘s Geoffrey Fowler in May penned an article that outlined how AirTags could be used for covert stalking, and one of his main criticisms was the lack of alerts for iPhone users.
His other critique was that the three-day sound timer on AirTags resets whenever it’s near the owner’s phone, potentially allowing for spousal abuse and stalking, so Apple is working to address both of these issues.
The Android app will be released later this year, and the sound updates for AirTags will be automatically applied when an AirTag is near an iPhone.