Apple releases Tracker Detect to protect Android users from AirTags stalkers

The app does not require an Apple account to use.

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Apple has released Tracker Detect, a new Android app designed to help those without an iOS device to find out if someone is using an AirTag or other Find My-compatible device to snoop their location. When the software finds a nearby AirTag that’s been separated from its owner, it will flag it as an “Unknown AirTag.” If it then follows you for 10 minutes, you can use the app to tell the tracker to play a sound, making it easier to find. At that point, you can tap the device with your NFC-compatible phone and you’ll get instructions on how to remove its battery or otherwise disable it.

You don’t need an Apple account to use the app. As mentioned above, it can also detect Find My-compatible trackers like the Chipolo One Spot. “AirTag provides industry-leading privacy and security features and today we are extending new capabilities to Android devices. Tracker Detect gives Android users the ability to scan for an AirTag or supported Find My enabled item trackers that might be traveling with them without their knowledge,” an Apple spokesperson told Engadget. “We are raising the bar on privacy for our users and the industry, and hope others will follow.”

The release of Tracker Detect comes following multiple incidents of bad actors abusing AirTags to stalk people. In Canada, for example, police recently warned of thieves using the $29 device to steal expensive cars. In June, Apple, in a separate effort to limit abuse, updated its trackers to play a sound between eight and 24 hours after they’re separated from their owner, instead of after three days as was the case at launch.

How much good Tracker Detect does to protect people will depend on how many people download it. Unlike with iOS, which sends proactive warnings when it detects errant AirTags, this is an app you need to install to your Android device. Its protections aren't built into Android, at least not yet. 

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