“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” the company said.
These changes won’t manifest until Apple releases updates for its iOS and iPadOS software, and the company would not confirm exactly when those updates will become available. That said, the improvements Apple plans to make will arrive in more than one wave. Here’s how AirTags will change, and a rough idea of when it’ll happen.
To start, Apple plans to include more pointed warnings about unwanted tracking when customers go through the setup process for AirTags on their iPhones and iPads. Those warnings will also make clear that law enforcement officials can “request identifying information” about the owners of specific AirTags if they’re turned in by someone who thinks they’ve been tracked.
That same software update should also make the “Unknown Accessory Detected” alerts some people have encountered less common. These are sometimes triggered when people walk around with their AirPods, or spend time around someone else’s. If your iPhone or iPad can tell that the questionable device nearby is actually a pair of AirPods, Apple’s Find My app will identify them as such, not as “unknown” accessories.
Apple also said it is “investigating” changes for future software updates to be released later this year, many of which will make AirTags easier for (some) people to locate.
People who own an iPhone 11 or newer, for example, will be able to use the Find My app’s Precision Finding feature — a full-screen compass that directs you to nearby AirTags — to home in on Apple trackers that don’t belong to them. And while people who receive unwanted tracking alerts can already make unknown AirTags easier to spot by forcing them to play an alert tone, those sounds will become louder after a future update.
Apple also said it would adjust the “logic” that defines when an AirTag secretly stowed in a person’s car, bag or coat pocket starts to make its presence known. Right…