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Apple and Google's cross-platform anti-stalking tracker standard arrives in iOS 17.5

AirTag, a tracker that will support Apple and Google's industry standard.

Apple and Google have finally implemented their industry specification for detecting AirTags and other trackers hidden on a person, to help minimize the instances of stalking.

Initially announced in May 2023, the industry standard between Apple and Google is titled "Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers." After a year of waiting, it's finally becoming a reality on consumer devices.

The new standard will alert users on iOS and Android if a Bluetooth tracking device owned by someone else is being used to track them. Users will get new alerts on their smartphones if an unknown Bluetooth tracking device is found to be moving with the user over time, regardless of platform.

If someone else's AirTag, Find My accessory, or other compatible Bluetooth tracker is detected, but not attached to an item the user is borrowing or otherwise knows about, they can find out more. An iPhone is able to view the tracker's identifier, play a sound on the tracker to locate it, and see instructions on how to disable it.

While Apple hardware like AirTag will support the system, more will be supporting it in the future. Manufacturers including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee have pledged to make future tags they produce compatible with the new system.

Apple is implementing the new feature as part of iOS 17.5. Google will be bringing the same functionality to Android devices running Android 6.0 or later.

The specification is still not finalized, and will likely change in the future. Apple and Google intend to continue working with the Internet Engineering Task Force via the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers working group to develop an official standard.