Apple AirTag is receiving an update that will change the time period after which it plays a sound when separated from its owner. This is essentially to address concerns over whether AirTags could potentially be used to stalk someone. In addition to changing the alert timing, Apple has announced its plans to bring an Android app to let a larger number of people detect an AirTag separated from its owner. The new AirTag-focussed announcements notably come just days before the beginning of WWDC 2021 — this year's edition of Apple's developer conference.
As first reported by CNET, Apple is bringing an update to the AirTag that will shorten the time period after which it plays an alerting sound when separated from its owner. The Cupertino company said that instead of giving a window of three days, the update is cutting the period to a “random time” between eight and 24 hours. This means that an AirTag would play the sound anytime between the new time period when separated from its owner and alert nearby people.
The change addresses concerns that some people raised about the AirTag — that it could allow individuals to secretly track others. The new time period is, however, still long enough for people to be tracked without their knowledge. Nonetheless, the condition of picking a random time means the owners of AirTags would not know exactly when they would be a able to play the alerting sound after the eight-hour period.
Apple confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the software update changing the time period for the AirTag will start rolling out today. It will reach your AirTag automatically when it comes into the proximity of your iPhone or iPad — similar to how Apple provides updates to AirPods.
In addition to the update, Apple has confirmed to Gadgets 360 than an Android app for AirTag is coming later this year. It will allow users to detect an AirTag separated from its owner and may be unsuspectedly “traveling” with them. The app will also work with other Find My network-enabled devices. This is another step to address concerns over chances of people abuse the AirTag or Find My network-enabled devices to surreptitiously track others.
Apple is currently busy preparing for the WWDC 2021 event, which will begin Monday, June 7. The company is likely to provide some details about how it could expand the usage of AirTag and bolster its Find My network at that virtual conference.
We dive into all things Apple — iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV 4K, and AirTag — this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.
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