The world's leading tech giants, Apple and Google, have teamed up to lead an industry-wide initiative to draft a specification aimed at combating unwanted location tracking via Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices like AirTags across iOS and Android.
Other makers of similar tracking devices, including Samsung, Tile, eufy Security, Pebblebee, and Chipolo are already on board with the proposed standard.
AirTags and similar gadgets help users find keys, luggage, and other important personal items. However, these devices have one significant disadvantage – they can be misused for unwanted tracking. For example, there have been many cases of Bluetooth trackers being used to stalk people, harass them or even steal from them.
After increasing users complaints about unwanted surveillance and concerns over the devices' safety, the companies announced the development of a new technology that can combat the misuse of Bluetooth devices for location tracking.
This first-of-its-kind technology will make eligible Bluetooth location-tracking devices compatible with unauthorized tracking detection. The technology will be embedded at the smartphone operating system level and will be able to alert users if an unknown Bluetooth tracker is nearby, regardless of what kind of phone they have.
Apple and Google plan to release a production implementation of the new specification for unwanted tracking alerts by the end of 2023. It will then be supported in future versions of iOS and Android.