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Apple's wireless Tile-like tracking technology exposed in iOS 13 build

More details relating to the rumored Tile-style 'tag' tracker accessory Apple is developing, with an allegedly leaked image from an internal build of iOS 13 suggesting the device will be circular, while its usage via the "Find My" app could include limiting notifications of misplacement to occasions where the user isn't at home.




Rumors of an Apple-produced tracker that works with the refreshed Find My app suggested Apple would move from just tracking lost Apple hardware, and into other items. "Tag" hardware references found in June were the first major indication of the item being real, and the prospect of adding Tile-like functionality to the app.

A leak of images published by MacRumors on Friday from what is believed to be an internal build of iOS 13 depicts the tag as a circle, with a central Apple logo. While it is plausible that this could be placeholder art ahead of the official launch of the accessory, there is a chance that it could genuinely be a circular badge-style item, possibly with a keyring element not shown in the image.

Other text snippets advise of the presence of a removable battery, which could be removed by unscrewing the back. Since the size of the tracker isn't revealed in the image, it is plausible it could be quite small, accepting a thin circular battery rather than a larger rechargeable unit.

The tag is believed to have the codename "B389," MacRumors reported on Friday afternoon, with text strings in the code indicating the nature of the accessory, such as "tag your everyday items with B389 and never lose them again."

The image of the 'tag' accessory within an internal build of iOS 13

The image of the 'tag' accessory within an internal build of iOS 13


It will work with the "Find My" app, which will have an "Items" tab, meant for tracking things that the tag is attached to.

Notifications will be provided to users if their iPhone is separated from the tagged item by an unspecified distance. In the case of nearby misplaced items, the app could be triggered to make the tag chime, allowing it to be found by sound.

A user can also designate "safe locations" that won't set off the notifications if the tagged device is left there, allowing it to be separated from the iPhone. For example, a gym bag could be left at home most of the time, but would need to be guarded when taken out of the house, so the tag would only be required for that limited situation.

Items like the "tag" could be put into a "Lost Mode," allowing other iPhone users to acquire contact details for its owner, in order to help getting the lost item back. When discovered by an iPhone, the owner will be notified it has been found.

Along with simple tracking, there also seems to be an augmented reality-style element to the app. When lost nearby, the app could give a view of the object's location, highlighting it with a red balloon on the screen.

The concept has been raised in patent applications, with the use of an indicator showing where something is within a room or a local environment.

While "Find My" is believed to be arriving as part of iOS 13's launch this fall, it is unclear when Apple will announce the "tag" product. It is possible, however, that Apple could be waiting until its September 10 iPhone event to unveil the unannounced product for the first time.