Apple's Find My will alert users of unknown trackers ‘moving with you’
Apple’s very capable device tracking application Find My, could now be gaining a new feature that can help you stop a stalker, family member or possessive partner from using a simple tracking device to keep tabs on you and your location, according to reports.
In its latest beta for iOS 14.5, Apple has added a feature called Item Safety Alerts, which informs an iPhone or iPad user if there is an unknown device that has been added to the Find My app which is also moving along with you, according to a report by 9to5Mac.
Something I hadn’t considered before: new beta includes a Item Safety setting in Find My. This is how Apple is trying to prevent 'stalking' with AirTags. If someone secretly hides a tag in your possessions, your phone will notice and warn you about it. pic.twitter.com/NVJyAZlthw— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) March 4, 2021
We recently reported that Samsung had launched a new Galaxy SmartTag tile tracker which works on Bluetooth Low Energy mode, with plans to include an Ultra Wide Band (UWB) version as well. UWB technology is also expected to power Apple’s rumoured AirTags which are expected to arrive later this year. It offers “spatial awareness” so that a tracker file, for example, can ‘understand the objects that are surrounding it.
UWB works on the same principle as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It relies on regular radio waves sent at a very high frequency. A device using UWB can issue billions of pulses, within a few nanoseconds. These are then picked up by a receiver that can make sense of the data that has been collected in terms of distance.
The tech is already built into Apple’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 and will eventually be used for useful applications like pointing your device at someone and sending them a file - the arrival of this safety feature also suggests Apple may be planning on releasing the rumoured AirTags later this year.
These Item Safety Alerts could prove to be a very useful feature to keep stalkers or a controlling family member or partner from learning about all if your movements by simply adding a UWB tracker to your bag or your car or briefcase.
Attempting to turn off the feature, which is now on by default, will warn you that the owner of an “unknown item will be able to see your location” and “you will no longer receive notifications when an unknown item is found moving with you”, so its probably safer to just leave the feature on as a security precaution.