Apple AirTags are getting a major anti-tracking upgrade

AirTags are useful devices that help you locate your keys and other items. However, there has been some concern about using AirTags for stalking – after all, it’s pretty easy to slip one into someone’s bag.

This was the subject of an article on The Washington Post, who discovered that by placing one of the small devices in a bag or pocket, a stalker could receive precise alerts detailing their target’s location.

Apple, of course, doesn’t want the bad press and notoriety associated with this use of AirTags, so it offers technology to help detect when an AirTag is traveling with you. The good news is that this feature just got a whole lot better—if you have the recently released iOS 16.2, you can now enjoy enhanced protection from malicious AirTags users. That’s because Apple released firmware update 2.0.24, which allows a precision finder feature to “locate an unknown AirTag” if it detects someone moving with you.

Additionally, Apple has enabled alerts detailing when a rogue AirTag is traveling with you, with the AirTag itself programmed to emit a noise so you can find it. This firmware update builds on changes already made earlier this year in update 1.0.301.

At the same time, another AirTag 2.0.36 firmware update fixes an issue with the accelerometer not activating in some scenarios.

As I mentioned earlier, you need to be running iOS 16.2 to get the update. The latest iPhone upgrade comes with a bunch of great new features as well as 35 security fixes, so it’s a good idea to get it if you haven’t already.

Precision finding also requires a supported iPhone model with Ultra Wideband.

Once you’re running iOS 16.2, you just need to make sure your AirTag is near your iPhone so it can connect via Bluetooth and the firmware will download automatically.

Stay safe with AirTags

AirTags are good devices and there are many uses for them, but as security experts point out, the technology is always at risk from bad guys trying to exploit it. “It’s inevitable that bad actors will try to misuse technology, so it’s vital that companies like Apple do what they can to help protect people by protecting them in the design phase,” says Jake Moore, a consultant of global cybersecurity at ESET.

He says it’s important to update your AirTags and take advantage of the new feature. However, he points out that it’s harder for Android users to tell when someone is using an AirTag against them – as an app is the only means of finding AirTag cheaters when they use these devices.

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