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iOS Update Targets Malicious AirTags

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You can now scan for active AirTags nearby.

Apple’s AirTag trackers are a convenient way to tag and track your personal belongings from the convenience of your iPhone. Unfortunately, as many pointed out back when the devices first released, they are also a convenient way for unsavory sorts to track things that don’t belong to them, or worse, other people. In the past year, there have been reports of stalkers and abusers using AirTags to keep tabs on their targets, as well as people sending presents with discreet AirTags to celebrities and streamers to track their locations. In an effort to erect a line of defense against this concerning trend, Apple has added a new safety feature to iOS.

The second beta version of iOS 15.2 features a new function in the Find My app. In addition to scanning for tracking AirTags that belong to you, you can now perform a local scan for AirTags that don’t belong to you in case you suspect someone of slipping one onto your person. If the scan uncovers any devices that are actively emitting a tracking signal and you believe they are there illegally, the app can provide instructions to disable it. Of course, if you believe someone just lost their AirTag rather than deliberately stuck it to you, there’s also a function for reporting lost items.

This is the latest in damage-control measures Apple has undertaken to prevent AirTags from being used maliciously. Back in June, they altered the alarm system on AirTags, which caused them to chime loudly when separated from users for at least 3 days, to instead chime after only one day of separation. Apple is also working on an app specifically for users of Android devices that will allow them to scan for malicious AirTags as well.