In response to a rather innovative way for a gross misuse of AirTag, Apple has launched a new Android app called Tracker Detect. The app is meant to be a tool for Android users to detect any AirTag that might have been planted on them or their vehicle to track their whereabouts.
The Tracker Detect app, now live on Google Play Store, is compatible with item trackers which are supported by Apple’s Find My network. These include Apple’s own AirTag as well as the Chipolo ONE Spot. As mentioned in the description of the app, Tracker Detect is able to scan for item trackers that are “separated from their owner.” A wicked implementation of this would obviously be to track a person.
So now, Android users who feel that they might be a target of a stalking attempt by someone using AirTags can check for the tracking devices in their vicinity. A simple Scan option on the Tracker Detect app will let you look for any unwarranted AirTags around you. In case the app detects an unknown AirTag in your vicinity, it will give you three options to deal with it.
– If the detected AirTag is found to be moving with you for more than 10 minutes, Tracker Detect will let you play a sound on the AirTag to better help you locate it.
– Once located, you can even check the serial number of the AirTag through the “Learn About This Item Tracker” option on the app.
– As a third option, the app will even show you ways to disable the AirTag by removing its battery. You can simply push down on the back of the AirTag and push it counterclockwise to remove the cover and then the battery.
Continued efforts against AirTag stalking
Post their release in April, AirTags sparked widespread concerns over their potential for monitoring someone’s real-time location without their consent – basically a tool for stalking. The coin-sized device from the house of Apple could be slipped into anyone’s handbag or briefcase or car, thus transmitting the whereabouts of the person in real time to the real owner of the AirTag.
The initial response from Apple to the concerns involved updating the AirTags to beep if they are away from their owner’s iPhone. Ever since, the AirTags beep to alert people nearby at a random time between eight and 24 hours of being away from their paired phone. In case there is an iPhone in the vicinity, the iPhone will display an alert that someone else’s tracker is around them.
Up until now, such safeguards against AirTags were missing for Android users. Apple had announced back in June that it would come up with an Android application later this year that will let Android users detect an unclaimed AirTag around them. Now that the application is out, it remains to be seen how successful it is in protecting users against stalking attempts through AirTags.