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Find out if you're being stalked with Apple AirTags
© Armmy Picca |
Security & privacy

Apple just made a big change to keep Android users safer from stalkers and thieves

GPS trackers help you find lost items. They can be used for anything from car keys to your laptop bag. Apple AirTags are a popular choice of trackers, and you don’t even need an Apple device to use them.

As helpful as they are, trackers can be used to track more than misplaced or stolen items. The Ontario police recently reported that crooks use AirTags to track and steal high-end vehicles. Tap or click here for details and tips on how to avoid falling victim to this criminal act.

Not long after the introduction of AirTags, Apple updated Find My to notify iOS users if unknown AirTags were nearby to prevent misuse, such as a stranger tracking the user’s location. Android users were out of luck, however. Now that’s changed. Apple just released an app to give Android users the same safeguards against being tracked.

Are you being followed?

Until a recent update, it took three days before AirTags would beep to indicate they’ve been separated from their owner. If someone was purposely tracking you, they had all that time before you were even aware of it.

With the recent update, AirTags beep randomly between 8 and 24 hours after being separated from their owner. Tap or click here to see how it works and how to make sure your AirTags are up to date.

If your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is running iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later, it can automatically scan for nearby AirTags. You’ll get a notification that reads “AirTag Found Moving With You.”

Tracker Detect for Android

On Monday, Apple put out an app on the Google Play Store that can find trackers compatible with Apple’s Find My network. Tracker Detect works with Android 9.0 and up and within Bluetooth range.

The difference between this app and the built-in feature on iOS devices is that you have to run Tracker Detect manually by opening the app and tapping Scan. If the app detects an AirTag or compatible item tracker near you for at least 10 minutes, you can play a sound to help locate it.

AirTags have a Lost Mode that can locate a missing AirTag itself. If you find a missing AirTag, you can scan it with your phone to get the owner’s phone number and return it to them.

It should come as no surprise that crooks are taking advantage of this feature to steal the finder’s Apple account. Tap or click here to see how they do it and what to watch out for.

🚨 What it means for you

It’s no surprise hackers and creeps are early adopters of tech that helps them keep an eye on their victims. AirTags and other trackers are helpful for finding your lost items, but the privacy concerns are real. This update is a good step toward keeping Android users a little safer.

✅ If you don’t own an iPhone or iPad, it’s worth downloading Tracker Detect. While you do have to manually scan to check for AirTags left near you, it’s better than nothing.

✅ Have an iPhone? You should update, too. Tap or click for the best new features in iOS 15.2, including one that allows you to set contacts to take over your iCloud account and the associated data after you die.

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