Apple and Google join forces to stop unwanted tracking

Apple and Google have announced an industry specification for Bluetooth tracking devices which help alert users to unwanted tracking.

The specification, called Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers, will make it possible to alert users across both iOS and Android if a device is unknowingly being used to track them.

The alert would be pushed to the users device and would say “[Item] Found Moving With You.”

In many cases “[Item]” might well actually be an AirTag.

AirTags’ intended use is to let you easily track things like your keys, wallet, purse, backpack, luggage, and more. You can simply set it up with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, attach it somewhere, and the AirTag will show up in your Find My app. However, AirTags have long been associated with this unwanted tracking, which is something Apple apparently did not foresee and has been working on to make this type of abuse harder.

Apple’s first step to discourage unwanted tracking was the “Tracking Notifications” option in the Find My app. This feature is available on iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later.

Android introduced a similar “unknown tracker alert” to find trackers placed near you or in your belongings without your knowledge or consent.

With the new capability that both tech giants have pushed, users will now get the alert, regardless of the platform the device is paired with. If a user gets such an alert on their device, it means that someone else’s Bluetooth tracker is moving with them.

Android and iPhone users can view the tracker’s identifier, have the tracker play a sound to help locate it, and access instructions to disable it. Bluetooth tag manufacturers including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee have all said that future tags will be compatible.

Apple and Google will continue to work with the Internet Engineering Task Force via the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers working group to develop the official standard for this technology.

We don’t just report on phone security—we provide it

Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Keep threats off your mobile devices by downloading Malwarebytes for iOS, and Malwarebytes for Android today.