The latest iOS 15.4 developer beta includes a number of features in response to reports the item trackers are being used (and could easily be used) to stalk unsuspecting people.
Among the features spotted by MacRumors in the new beta is a warning, making it clear to possible offenders they’d be breaking the law if they misused the devices to track others.
On the AirTag set-up screen users will be advised “using [an AirTag] to track people without their consent is a crime in many regions around the world.”
When informing users “this item is linked to your Apple ID” the company adds: “This item is designed to be detected by victims and to enable law enforcement to request identifying information about the owner.”
For any potential stalkers thinking about dropping an AirTag on their victim’s person or in their car, that warning is designed to act as a solid deterrent.
Apple is also getting rid of the option to disable the Item Safety Alerts that could warn other Find My users that an unknown item on their person. Users will now get the notifications whether they like it or not. The beta does give users the option to customise those tracking notifications via the Find My app though.
Elsewhere, Apple is resolving a bug that may have seen users get pinged by an “Unknown Accessory Detected” notification as a result of AirPods picked up in the vicinity. Users may have suspected this was coming from an AirTag planted on their person.
Apple said last month “we will be updating the alert users receive to indicate that AirPods have been traveling with them instead of an “Unknown Accessory.””
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The features were announced earlier this month as part of a wider update on AirTags and unwanted tracking. The company it has been “working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies. Through our own evaluations and these discussions, we have identified even more ways we can update AirTag safety warnings and help guard against further unwanted tracking.”
Further planned updates include better precision finding, the ability to display an alert on your iPhone to accompany the sound emitted by an AirTag found on your person. It also plans to make the tones louder and update an unwanted tracking alert system to notify users earlier. Those features will arrive later this year in a future update.