How New Apple ‘Find My’ Alerts Might Stop Users Being Tracked Or Stalked

Apple looks set to be introducing Item Safety Alerts to its Find My app that will notify users if an unrecognized tracker is moving with them.

Apple has released the third iOS 14.5 beta version for developers and it looks like a new safety feature may be coming to iPhones. New Item Safety Alerts in the Find My tracker app will notify the user if an unknown tracker has been detected traveling with them. That means it will alert the user if they are being tracked.

Find My debuted in 2019 and is made up of two previous Apple features: Find My Friends and Find My iPhone. Combining the two into one app was more convenient for users and gave Apple the scope to develop the app with more tracking functionalities in the future, such as for its rumored AirTag beacon. However, it is arguably with the AirTag in mind that Apple has thought to introduce the new alerts.

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The AirTags, like Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag trackers, are expected to be tracking devices that can be attached to a user’s belongings so that they can be located in the event that they’re misplaced. It’s not out of the realms of possibility, though, that someone could drop such a tracker into a person’s bag or pocket and keep tabs on where they go — including to their home. This, says 9To5Mac in its iOS 14.5 beta version three teardown, is what the Item Safety Alerts will notify users of.

How Will Apple’s Item Safety Alerts Work?

Samsung SmartTag attached to keys and the SmartThings app showing their location

Based on the beta version, Item Safety Alerts will be enabled by default, according to the report. In the event that an unrecognized tracker — one that isn’t paired with the user’s device — is detected as moving with them, the user will receive a notification to tell them as much. This would allow the user to locate the tracker in question and dispose of it, disable it, or turn it into the authorities.

Users will be able to turn the feature off if for any reason they should want to. However, if they do, they will receive a message before they confirm stating: “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.” it is clear that Apple wants users to understand the reason for the feature and the potential implications of disabling it.

Item trackers, like those from Tile, have been around for a number of years, but the introduction of the Galaxy SmartTag by Samsung and the AirTags as is expected by Apple will likely popularize the concept and see their use proliferate. As The Verge points out, Apple is planning to allow the Find My app to work with third-party trackers, so we can expect the Item Safety Alerts to do the same.

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Source: 9To5Mac

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