Apple and Google drop shared stalking protection for item trackers

Apple and Google have finally settled on the industry standard for alerting iPhone and Android users when a Bluetooth tracker like a Tile or AirTag is moving with them.

The standard, which goes live today within iOS 17.5 will see users on both platforms get an “[Item] Found Moving With You” notification, regardless of whether that device has been paired with and Android or iPhone handset. It’s available on all phones running Android 6.0 and up from today too, Google says.

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That closes a major security loophole in the fight against these super-useful trackers being used for nefarious means – namely to stalk unsuspecting people, as has been documented.

“Apple and Google have worked together to create an industry specification — Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers — for Bluetooth tracking devices that makes it possible to alert users across both iOS and Android if such a device is unknowingly being used to track them,” Apple says in a Newsroom post. “This will help mitigate the misuse of devices designed to help keep track of belongings.”

The company goes on to explain how iPhone users will be able to view the tracker’s identifier, have it play a sound, and then set about disabling it. This will work for Bluetooth trackers made by the likes of Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee, the post says.

Google announced the Find My Device network was finally going live last month, following its announcement at Google I/O last year.

The release was delayed until Google and Apple could agree on a shared standard to ensure users were protected regardless of the platform they’re using. Now Apple has finally got its ducks in a row with iOS 17.5, the protections have arrived.

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