In a blog post, Apple said it has worked with safety groups and law enforcement agencies to identify more ways to update its AirTag safety warnings, including alerting people sooner if the small Bluetooth tracker is suspected to be tracking someone. (Right now, it can take hours for an AirTag to chirp if it has been separated from its owner.)
Other updates coming later this year include tweaking the tracker’s tone sequence so the device is louder and easier to find, and allowing someone to see its distance and direction of an AirTag through the iOS precision finding tool. In addition, Apple will warn AirTag users during the setup process that tracking people without their consent is a crime.
That warning also reminds users “that law enforcement can request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag,” Apple writes in their blog post:
We have been actively working with law enforcement on all AirTag-related requests we’ve received. Based on our knowledge and on discussions with law enforcement, incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many. Every AirTag has a unique serial number, and paired AirTags are associated with an Apple ID. Apple can provide the paired account details in response to a subpoena or valid request from law enforcement. We have successfully partnered with them on cases where information we provided has been used to trace an AirTag back to the perpetrator, who was then apprehended and charged.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” Apple’s blog post adds.
Daring Fireball supplies some analysis:
The same features that help prevent AirTags from being used to stalk people without their knowing could also alert a thief that whatever it is they’ve stolen has an AirTag attached. There’s no way for AirTags to serve both purposes, so Apple is increasing the protections against unwanted tracking, and emphasizing that AirTags are solely intended for finding your own lost items.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.