Apple is adding an anti-stalker tool to its Find My app to alert users if AirTags or other trackers are being used to follow them around.
The latest version of the iOS 14.5 beta features “Item Safety” alerts, which will inform users if a third-party’s tracker, not owned by them, is “moving with you.”
The feature exploits a potential loophole that could enable a nefarious person to plant a Find My-compatible device on an unsuspecting person in order to track their whereabouts.
If the feature makes it into the final iOS 14.5 release, Apple will warn people if the unknown item is detected alongside their movements. An Apple blogger Benjamin Mayo shared a screenshot of the feature on Twitter, which suggests Apple will encourage people to keep the Item Safety alerts switched on (via 9to5Mac).
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If users attempt to turn it off, they’ll see an alert saying: “The owner of an unknown item will be able to see your location and you will no longer receive notifications when an unknown item is found moving with you.”
So, effectively, Apple is saying you’re fair game for being stalked if you turn this feature off. The addition of the feature makes sense and it’s actually not something we’d thought of until now.
One of the strengths of the Find My app is the way it leverages the hundreds of millions of iOS devices on the Apple network in order to help users track down lost items. Apple is also planning on opening up the Find My app to third-party trackers like the Tile-branded devices, as well as its forthcoming AirTags release.
As this feature would suggest, the helpful feature could be abused by those seeking to stalk an iPhone users’s movements, if they were to slip a small tag into their handbag, or suitcase, for instance. Ooh, it’s giving us the creeps just thinking about it!