Apple has updated AirTags to address privacy concerns associated with Bluetooth trackers. With this change, Apple has shortened the amount of time AirTag can be separated from its owner without making noise.
In line with our commitment to continue improving AirTag privacy and security, starting today we are updating the time period after an AirTag moves to make noise separate from its owner,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. This time period is changing from three days to a random time between 8 and 24 hours. “
This may sound like a small change, but it is intended to address concerns that Apple is not doing enough to prevent AirTags from being used maliciously. The Washington Post reports that the previous three-day window made it “very easy” for potential stalkers to track victims for days without the stalked receiving any type of warning that the AirTag had been surreptitiously placed in their belongings.
To further alleviate privacy concerns, Apple also plans to launch an Android app that will help users detect “AirTags or Find My Web attachments that may have been separated from the owner of a user traveling with them. “. Importantly, it doesn’t sound like the app is intended to offer Android users the full functionality of AirTags, but it will provide a way for non-iPhone users to find unwanted trackers.
On the one hand, this still puts the onus on potential stalking victims to actively download the new app and look for AirTag, which seems impractical. On the other hand, it shows that Apple is responding to privacy concerns and is willing to enhance the device’s existing anti-tracking features.