At , we are committed to providing innovative products that enhance the lives of our customers. One such product is AirTag, which allows users to keep track of personal items like keys, wallets, purses, backpacks, and luggage through the Find My app. Since its launch in April, AirTag has been instrumental in reuniting users with their valuable belongings [[SOURCE 1]].
AirTag was designed with the primary purpose of helping people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property. We condemn any malicious use of our products and are committed to addressing the issue of unwanted tracking [[SOURCE 1]].
Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously during the design of AirTag. We built the Find My network with privacy in mind, utilizing end-to-end encryption. Additionally, we innovated with the first-ever proactive system to alert users of unwanted tracking, setting a trend for others to follow [[SOURCE 1]].
We are aware that individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons, such as borrowing someone's keys with an AirTag attached or traveling in a car with a family member's AirPods left inside. We have also seen reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes. To address these concerns, we have been working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies [[SOURCE 1]].
Working with Law Enforcement: We have actively collaborated with law enforcement on all AirTag-related requests we have received. Incidents of AirTag misuse are rare, but we recognize that even one instance is too many. Each AirTag has a unique serial number, and paired AirTags are associated with an Apple ID. In response to a subpoena or valid request from law enforcement, Apple can provide the paired account details. We have successfully partnered with law enforcement to trace AirTags back to perpetrators, leading to apprehension and charges [[SOURCE 1]].
Advancements Coming to AirTag and the Find My Network: To further enhance the safety and privacy features of AirTag, we are implementing several updates:
New privacy warnings during AirTag setup: In an upcoming software update, every user setting up their AirTag for the first time will see a message that clearly states the intended use of AirTag, the legal implications of tracking people without consent, and the ability of law enforcement to request identifying information about the owner of the AirTag [[SOURCE 1]].
Addressing alert issues for AirPods: We have received reports of users receiving an "Unknown Accessory Detected" alert. We have confirmed that this alert will only display if an AirTag is detected near the user, not for other devices like AirPods. In the same software update, we will update the alert to indicate when AirPods have been traveling with the user [[SOURCE 1]].
Updated support documentation: Apple is updating its unwanted tracking support article on apple.com to provide additional explanations of which Find My accessories may trigger an unwanted tracking alert. The page will include visuals and specific examples of such alerts, along with instructions for disabling an AirTag, AirPods, or Find My network accessory. We have also included links to resources for individuals who feel their safety is at risk, such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Center for Victims of Crime [[SOURCE 1]].
Precision Finding: In a future update, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 users will be able to use Precision Finding to locate an unknown AirTag with precision. This feature combines input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope to guide users to the AirTag through a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback [[SOURCE 1]].
Display alert with sound: When an AirTag emits a sound to alert anyone nearby of its presence and is detected moving with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, an alert will be displayed on the user's device. This will help in cases where the AirTag may be in a location where it is hard to hear or if the AirTag speaker has been tampered with [[SOURCE 1]].
Refining unwanted tracking alert logic: We plan to update our unwanted tracking alert system to notify users earlier when an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be traveling with them. This will further enhance user awareness and prompt appropriate action [[SOURCE 1]].
Tuning AirTag's sound: We will be adjusting the tone sequence of the sound played when users receive an unwanted tracking alert. The aim is to make an unknown AirTag more easily findable by using more of the loudest tones [[SOURCE 1]].
At Apple, we design our products with a focus on providing a great experience while prioritizing safety and privacy. We continuously listen to feedback and innovate to make improvements that guard against unwanted tracking. Our dedicated teams across hardware, software, and services are committed to ensuring the utmost security and privacy for our customers [[SOURCE 1]].
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Apple remains committed to addressing the issue of unwanted tracking and enhancing the safety and privacy features of AirTag. Through collaborations with law enforcement, updates to privacy warnings, addressing alert issues, and refining the unwanted tracking alert system, we aim to provide our customers with the best possible experience while safeguarding their privacy and security. We will continue to innovate and improve our products to meet the evolving needs of our users.