Back at I/O 2023 in May, Google and Apple announced they were working on cross-platform anti-tracking alerts for Bluetooth tags. The feature rolled out to support Android devices with the ability to detect unwanted Apple AirTags today.
While smart tags like the Apple AirTag (review), are useful for tagging and locating lost belongings, their miniature size has also enabled certain quarters to utilize them via unauthorized tracking. To address this issue, notable companies, including Apple and Google, have created a new standard that allows handsets to detect nearby trackers regardless of the ecosystem they run on.
Detecting unwanted Bluetooth tracker features on Android
Apart from the automatic anti-tracking alerts and location history, there are useful functions added as well. For instance, a user can use their Android phone to trigger a sound alert on a smart tag within its range or completely disable it. It is also possible to identify the serial number of the tag alongside the owner's information by placing the accessory at the back of a phone, which should work depending on the tag manufacturer.
In addition, Google will also introduce a built-in manual scanning feature. This feature can be found by going into the Settings menu, followed by the Safety & emergency section. You then select Unknown tracker and alerts. Subsequently, you can tap “Scan Now” to have your surroundings checked for unknown trackers.
For Android phones and tablets, these capabilities will be introduced via an update to the Google Play service on devices running Android 6.0 and above, and it will be rolled out later this month. You would be pleased to know it currently works with Apple AirTags and Google did not mention which smart tag and tracker brands will be supported in the future.
It also remains unknown whether Apple will enable this on iPhones to detect non-Apple Bluetooth trackers and tags. As a reference, Apple already has a similar unwanted tracking alert, but it is limited only to its AirTags.
What do you think of Google and Apple's initiative? Are you already using a smart tag? Tell us in the comments.
Source: Google Blog