Apple yesterday announced several AirTag changes. These changes relate to prevent a person from being tracked using an AirTag and they materialize in the form of a device firmware update and the launch of an Android app in a few months.
A privacy-focused firmware update
Apple has released the first firmware update for AirTags since their introduction a few months ago. Thanks to this update Apple has adjusted the time it takes for the AirTag to start beeping. Now AirTags will sound if they have been separated from the iPhone they are paired with between eight and 24 hours. The exact time will be chosen at random. A substantial difference compared to the three days of margin that there was so far.
This update is installed automatically when our AirTags are within range of the iPhone with which they are paired. The truth is that we cannot force the update in any way, but we can we can check if this has already been done. The steps are as follows:
- We open the app Search on our iPhone.
- We enter the tab Objects.
- We select the AirTag we want to check.
- You touch the name of the AirTag to see the firmware version.
The firmware version with which the AirTags were launched is 1.0.225, while the the recently released update is version number 1.0.276. So if we see this second value, it means our AirTags have already been updated. Otherwise, the update will be done automatically in a few days.
Without losing sight of Android, Apple is preparing a dedicated application
When our iPhone detects that an AirTag that is not ours is traveling with us (as long as the iPhone it is not paired with is also traveling with us), we receive an alert in the form of a notification. This is a feature that, although now only available for iPhones, will be also available on Android via the app that Apple is developing.
This application would arrive towards the end of this year and it would allow Android users to detect an AirTag or search network compatible device when traveling with them. According to Apple (via CNET):
The recent introduction of AirTag includes the industry’s first proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking. These measures represent an ongoing commitment to improve the privacy and security of AirTag.
Remember that currently any phone on the market with an NFC chip can identify a lost AirTag to see the owner’s contact details. With this application, Apple goes even further and allows Android users to receive the same notice that iPhones receive when a suspicious AirTag is detected.
It is true that object tracking devices have been available on the market for a long time. It is also true that the boost and visibility that Apple has given to this class of accessories through the presentation of the AirTag is more than considerable. Some devices which, like too many things, can be extremely useful or used for more obscure purposes. Fortunately, with this update and the launch of the Android app, we’ll be focusing on the most positive side of our AirTags: quickly locating any lost items.