Apple released an application called “Tracker Detect” which is intended for Android users. This app is designed to help users who don't own an Apple device to be able to track the presence of an AirTag or other device supported by an unknown Find My sensor in their vicinity.
One of the purposes of this app is to maintain privacy. As is known, AirTag can be embedded in any type of item, such as a bag, wallet, or others to mark and make it easier for the owner if the item is lost. AirTag tracking is done using Apple's Find My Network technology.
However, the AirTag's ability is assessed as potentially being misused to track or stalk other people. That's because Find My Network is now reported to have more than 1 billion iPhones and other active devices.
The devices secretly share the location of AirTags or other Find My-enabled devices in the vicinity.
So, if users feel they are being followed by someone else using an AirTag or similar device, they can use Tracker Detect on their Android smartphone to scan for AirTags or similar devices around them.
If the Android device detects it successfully, a warning will appear saying “Unknown AirTag”. If the detected AirTag is known to have followed the user for 10 minutes, the user can turn on a sound on the device to track it.
From there, the user will be directed what to do and how to disable it by removing the battery on the AirTag that is tracking it.
In addition, Apple also advises users to immediately contact law enforcement if their safety is threatened by tracking from an unknown AirTag.
Apple/Tech Crunch Screenshot of what the Tracker Detect app looks like when it detects an AirTag that may be tracking a user.
An Apple spokesperson said, Tracker Detect was introduced to improve the privacy security of using AirTag on Android devices.
“Tracker Detect gives Android users the ability to scan AirTags or other Find My-enabled devices, which have tracked them without being noticed,” said an Apple representative.
“We're raising the bar for privacy for our users and industry, and hope others will follow suit.”
Not only to help maintain privacy, the Tracker Detect application also functions to help track the whereabouts of AirTag-embedded items or devices that have similar sensors.
“This item tracker includes AirTags and other compatible devices from other companies. If you think someone is using an AirTag or other device to track your location, you can scan to try to find it,” reads the description of the Tracker Detect application posted on the Google Play Store.
This application can be downloaded by Android users via the Play Store at the following link. Apple has actually added a warning in the Find My app if it detects an AirTag belonging to an unknown person while tracking the user's location.
The Find My application itself is used to help track the location of Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac remotely. However, Apple was criticized for the service not being available to non-iOS users.
In fact, location tracking using AirTag can also be done on Android devices.
The Tracker Detect application requires the user to actively scan the device in order to identify the owner. Tracker Detect does not require users to have an Apple account to detect AirTags and other devices.
Any user with an NFC-enabled phone can track and receive instructions on how to return an AirTag or other device to its owner. Meanwhile, Apple says that all interactions in this app will be encrypted.