iOS and Android owners will now be alerted if an unknown tracker is moving with them

Last year, Apple and Google teamed up to develop a specification for alerting users if a Bluetooth tracking device is surreptitiously monitoring them. That feature just rolled out to iOS and Android users.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Is there a Bluetooth tracker surreptitiously monitoring your location? Your smartphone can now alert you.

Is there a Bluetooth tracker surreptitiously monitoring your location? Your smartphone can now alert you.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

In May 2023, Google and Apple announced they were joining forces to unveil a new specification aimed at enhancing user privacy with Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices. This initiative is designed to prevent people from using these devices to track others without their consent, marking a significant step towards safeguarding personal privacy in the digital age.

In a joint statement yesterday, both companies announced that an alerting mechanism is being rolled out to iOS and Android users.

Also: The best AirTag accessories you can buy

This capability is rolling out in iOS 17.5 for iPhone users and to Android 6.0+ devices. This will alert users if someone else's AirTag, Find My Device network-compatible tracker tag or other industry specification-compatible Bluetooth tracker is moving about with them. 

When a tracker that is not registered on their device is detected moving with them over time, the device displays an alert: "[Item] Found Moving With You."

The potential victim has several options to address the situation. They can view the tracker's identifier, activate a sound on the tracker to help locate it and access detailed instructions on how to disable it. This set of features is designed to empower individuals to protect themselves effectively against unwanted tracking, enhancing personal security and peace of mind.

The statement also confirmed that other Bluetooth tag manufacturers, including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee, have committed that future tags will be compatible with this detection protocol.

Both companies have pledged to continue to work with the Internet Engineering Task Force to further develop and enhance the official standard for this unwanted tracker detection technology.

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