Preventing AirTag stalking? ‘Tracker Detect’ app lets Android users search for nearby active trackers such as Apple’s AirTag
Apple has released its ‘Tracker Detect’ app to allow Android users search for nearby active trackers, including Apple’s AirTag.
The Tracker Detect app is available for download now on the Google Play Store, giving Android users the ability to detect if they are are being tracked, or indeed stalked, by trackers from third party companies, including Apple.
Apple of course released its AirTag tracking devices on 20 April 2021, in a further expansion of Apple’s ‘Find My’ ecosystem. It was designed to help users keep track of their belongings.
The AirTag itself is a small accessory that enables users to securely locate and keep track of their valuable belongings such as rucksacks, keys, handbags, bicycles, etc using the Find My app.
It delivers precision finding by giving users the exact distance and direction to their AirTag, guiding them through a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback.
Each round AirTag is small and lightweight, and features polished stainless steel, and is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. There is an built-in speaker that plays sounds to help locate the AirTag, while a removable cover makes it easy for users to replace the battery.
When Find My devices are in range of any iPhone, iPad or Mac, they transmit their location. More than 1 billion devices are active on the Find My network.
But it immediately triggered some privacy concerns, despite there already being rival offerings from firms such as Tile on the market.
Apple insisted that because it is part of the ‘Find My’ ecosystem, location data was kept private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
It should be noted that Apple iPhones automatically include a feature that alerts them when an AirTag they don’t own appears to be “following” them.
In June however Apple released a software update after users complained that AirTags could be used to stalk people.
That update changed the window of time in which the AirTag will emit its sound warning – to a random time between 8 and 24 hours after the device is out of range of its owner’s iPhone.
But now Apple has released the ‘Tracker Detect’ app for the Android community.
“Tracker Detect looks for item trackers that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with Apple’s Find My network,” said Apple.
“These item trackers include AirTag and compatible devices from other companies,” it said. “If you think someone is using AirTag or another device to track your location, you can scan to try to find it.”