Airtags and other Bluetooth trackers, like the Samsung Galaxy Smart Tag or Tile, are great if, like me, you have a knack for losing your valuables. But they need to be carefully controlled too. They're amazing for finding lost devices which unfortunately means that in the hands of the wrong people, they've also been used for nefarious purposes. Luckily an Android feature, first announced at Google I/O 2023, is now here. It won't just be hitting the best Android phones either, with any device running Andriod 6.0 or later compatible.
So how exactly will we be protected from stalking? A brand new Unknown Tracker Alerts feature will notify you if a tracker that you don't own is travelling with you. You'll even be able to follow how far it has been with you and get it to play a sound to holler and give its position away.
Unfortunately, stalking, particularly of women, is not as rare as it should be and this latest Android measure is a step in the right direction. Tracker manufacturer Tile added an anti-theft mode earlier this year that functions similarly to this new Android feature, while also introducing a $1 million fine for any customer who uses a Tile to track someone non-consensually. Such is the seriousness of the tracker stalking problem that even Google and Apple are working together.
Google was meant to unveil an improved version of its Find My Device network that would track more than just smartphones, but Apple reportedly isn't yet ready to implement specific protective measures for iOS devices. In response, Google has held off until these concerns are dealt with (thought to be later this year).
Of course, when it comes to safety features for tracking devices such as this, there is always a balance between protecting privacy and dealing with theft. Thieves will now be able to receive the same notifications, giving them a chance to dispose of any trackers quickly.