Apple’s new Android app lets you check AirTag stalkers without an iPhone
Apple has released a new Android app that allows users to detect if an unknown AirTag is following them. It’s a useful security tool for all non-iPhone users who are worried about high-tech harassment.
“Tracker Detect is looking for owner-separated item trackers that are compatible with Apple’s Find My network,” the Google Play Store app description reads. “These item trackers include AirTag and compatible devices from other companies. If you suspect someone is using AirTag or another device to track your location, you can scan to try and find them.”
When Apple announced its new AirTag Bluetooth trackers in April, they quickly ran into privacy and security issues. Using these handy 1.26 inch tags to electronically track your keys and wallet is super convenient. Being potentially stalked by a stalker without your knowledge is less good.
Apple has indicated that it is aware of this issue and has implemented a few features to help prevent AirTag abuse. This included auto-detecting any unknown AirTags that were tracking you, the ability to disable said AirTags, and having AirTags make a noise if separated from their paired iPhone for three days. The audio alert was then updated in June to activate at a random time between 8 and 24 hours.
However, apart from the sound of AirTags, these features were only available for iPhone users. Now, Apple’s Tracker Detect app will finally allow Android users to check if they’re hidden by malicious AirTags, hoping to catch them early.
The best headphones for your Android devices
Although Tracker Detect seems like a handy security tool, it’s not without its flaws. Users have already started leaving negative reviews on the Google Play Store, criticizing Apple’s app for requiring manual activation of its scan. This means you must already know that someone may have placed an AirTag on you recently, otherwise you probably wouldn’t bother to open the app and scan. On the other hand, Tracker Detect could potentially drain your phone’s battery if it automatically scans all the time.
“Tracker Detect gives Android users the ability to search for AirTag or supported Find My compatible item trackers that may be traveling with them without their knowledge,” an Apple spokesperson told Mashable. “We are raising the bar on privacy for our users and the industry, and hope others will follow.”
UPDATE: December 14, 2021, 12:26 p.m. This article has been updated with comments from Apple and to note the update to the AirTag audio alert feature.