Apple AirTag is receiving an update that will change the period after which it plays a sound when separated from its owner. Essentially, it’s about responding to concerns about whether AirTags could potentially be used to track someone down. In addition to changing the timing of the alert, Apple has announced plans to bring an Android app to allow more people to detect an AirTag that is separate from its owner. The new AirTag-focused announcements notably come days before the start of WWDC 2021 – this year’s edition of Apple’s Developer Conference.
As first reported by CNET, Apple is bringing an update to the AirTag that will shorten the period after which it will emit an alert sound when separated from its owner. The Cupertino company said that instead of giving a three-day window, the update reduced the period to a “random time” of between eight and 24 hours. This means that an AirTag would play the sound anytime between the new period of time when separated from its owner and alert people nearby.
The change responds to concerns some people have raised about AirTag – that it could allow individuals to covertly follow other people. However, the new period of time is still long enough for people to be followed without their knowledge. Nonetheless, the condition of choosing a random time means that AirTags owners would not know exactly when they would be able to play the alert sound after the eight hour period.
Apple confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the software update modifying the time frame for the AirTag will begin rolling out today. It will automatically reach your AirTag when it’s near your iPhone or iPad, much like Apple provides updates to AirPods.
In addition to the update, Apple confirmed to Gadgets 360 that an Android app for AirTag is coming later this year. It will allow users to detect an AirTag separate from its owner and can “travel” with them in unexpected ways. The app will also work with other devices that are compatible with the Find My network. This is another step in addressing concerns about the potential for people to abuse AirTag or Find My Network compatible devices to surreptitiously track others.
Apple is currently busy preparing for the WWDC 2021 event, which begins on Monday, June 7. The company will likely provide details on how it could expand the use of AirTag and strengthen its Find My network during this virtual conference.
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