Apple iOS 15.4 Beta Finally Makes It Tougher For Creeps To Exploit AirTags For Stalking

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Last week, we covered warnings issued by two U.S. state attorneys general alerting citizens to the potential stalking threat posed by Apple AirTags. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated that “In the wrong hands, these tracking devices could lead to disaster.” These warnings came a week after Apple released a press release acknowledging “reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes,” and detailing steps the company is taking to curtail this misuse.

Among the measures Apple is taking to mitigate misuse of AirTags for stalking and car theft is cooperation with law enforcement. All AirTags that are in use are registered to an iOS device, and Apple has been and will continue to provide the account details of iOS devices linked to AirTags misused for malicious purposes. According to Apple, law enforcement has successfully used this information to find, apprehend, and charge bad actors misusing AirTags.

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New Find My and Tracking notification settings

As Apple promised in its press release, the latest beta of iOS 15.4 includes a new warning displayed when AirTags are first activated. This warning makes clear that AirTags are tied to Apple IDs, which contain personal information that can be handed over to law enforcement when AirTags are misused for stalking. The warning additionally states that tracking people without consent is a “crime in many regions around the world.”

iPhones will warn users when unfamiliar Find My network devices have been following them around, and Apple previously stated that it would push a software update to clarify the kinds of devices detected nearby. iPhones currently display “Unknown Accessory Detected” notifications when certain AirPod models are detected nearby, but the latest iOS 15.4 beta now specifies that these devices are AirPods. The beta also includes new notification settings that separate regular Find My notifications from Tracking notifications, giving users finer control over these notifications.

Apple has said that more anti-stalking software features are in the works, and iOS 15.4 isn’t expected to launch until mid-March, so we may see more of these features appear in future beta releases before the final release. You can head on over to 9to5Mac for confirmation of the new features in the latest beta build.