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airtags and tracker risks
© Evgeny Ustyuzhanin |
Safety & security

Apple and Google are working together to solve this major security issue

Apple and Google are teaming up to inform you of unwanted AirTags and other Bluetooth tracking devices nearby. What took them so long?

The tech rivals want to make unwanted tracking detection an industry standard. This way, all Bluetooth trackers will be compatible with tracking detection and alerts on iOS and Android devices. 

Other manufacturers of trackers like Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security and Pebblebee are on board with the proposal. 

Tag, you’re it

Anyone can place a tracking device in your pocket or purse to track you. Think stalkers or jealous exes. Crooks even hide AirTags on cars to follow them to the owner’s home and steal the vehicle later. Sadly, such a useful little gadget can be used against us.

Find My limits

If you have an iPhone, it automatically tracks and alerts you about unknown AirTags and other trackers using the Find My network. But that feature doesn’t work on tracking devices that operate on other networks.

Apple introduced an app for Android phones that locates trackers compatible with Apple’s Find My network, but the problem with other networks remains. 

Apple and Google’s proposal should solve these problems and standardize tracking alerts across the industry. These tech rivals rarely work together, but the safety risks have become too big to ignore. 

RELATED: Your every move tracked: How to remove Apple and Google’s location data

Do this if you get an unwanted tracking alert on your iPhone:

Here’s what to do if you get an unwanted tracking alert on your iPhone:

  • Tap the message, then tap Continue.
  • Tap Play Sound if you need help finding the AirTag.
  • If you don’t know where the AirTag came from, tap Learn About This AirTag to see its serial number and whether or not it’s marked as lost. 
  • If you find the AirTag on your vehicle or other property, tap Instructions to Disable AirTag and follow the onscreen steps to stop sharing your location.

It’s a bit more work if you have an Android

Apple’s Tracker Detect app for Android has its limits, but it works:

  • Download Tracker Detect here.
  • Open the app and tap Scan
  • Tap on any tracker the app finds.
  • Tap Play Sound if you need help finding the AirTag.
  • Tap Learn More About This Item Tracker to see more information about it.
  • Tap Instructions to Disable to stop anyone from seeing its location.

A third-party option periodically scans your surroundings for AirTags or other Find My devices. 

  • Download AirGuard here.
  • Check the app to see your status: No Risk is highlighted by a green card. This changes to red when you’re at High Risk due to a tracker being detected.
  • We tried out the app and it was able to detect both an AirTag and a Tile. We were able to make the AirTag chime from a Samsung phone.

The old-fashioned way

While Apple and Google are getting their act together, here are some tips to physically scan yourself and your car for trackers.

  • Check your pockets and bags when you go out. AirTags are tiny, so people can slip them into hidden crevices without you noticing.
  • Keep your purses, bookbags, luggage and laptop bags zipped up and close by.
  • Look over your car for hidden Bluetooth trackers under your vehicle or in the wheel wells. Check behind the license plates or anywhere someone can jam a tracker. Kim’s got five signs a hidden GPS tracker is on your car.

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