Apple and Google to Address Unwanted Tracking on Smart Tags
Since the inception of smart tags and Bluetooth trackers, there have been numerous cases of such accessories being used to stalk and spy on people. While Apple introduced features to deter such detestable actions, this was limited to its AirTags and Apple ecosystem. Today, Apple and Google have teamed up to ensure unwanted tracking can be detected across iOS and Android platforms.
Apple and Google announced that they will work together to draft a proposed specification that would allow the detection of unauthorized tracking to work across iOS and Android. Meaning, it would be possible for either of the ecosystems to detect unknown trackers near users and subsequently alert them.
How will the anti-tracking feature work on Android and iOS
In the draft submitted by the two major technology companies, it mentioned that once users are alerted of an unauthorized tracker or tag, they will be given instructions through an app on how to disable the accessory. This is a similar method to the Android function that was discovered last year. For reference, Apple's deterrent functions on iPhones work by forcing the unknown AirTag to emit loud sounds so that anyone nearby would be able to notice it.
It remains unclear what will the compatibility be like between its current Apple AirTags and other non-Apple Bluetooth or ultra-wideband trackers. It is safe to assume that these will likely require some form of OTA software updates to be installed, not to mention having iOS and Android operating systems receive support via native OS-level changes.
At the moment, the submitted draft specification is up for review by the IEFT (Internet Engineering Task Force). It's an entity that is responsible for different technical standards associated with devices that use wireless and internet protocols—smart tags included. Beyond Google and Apple, other prominent names who have expressed their interest in supporting the standardization include Samsung, Pebble, and Tile.
Google is working on its own Pixel Tag tracker
With regards to Google, the Internet search giant is tipped to be working on its own smart tag, dubbed the Pixel Tag, which uses its Fast Pair technology. It is known by the code name Grogu, and could be unveiled at I/O 2023 alongside the Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold. On a separate note, Samsung is set also rumored to introduce the Galaxy Smart Tag 2 which comes with auto-detection of unauthorized tracking.
What do you think of this proposed standard to detect unwanted tracking across Android and iOS? Will this benefit most users? Let us know in the comments.