Stalking Concerns Lead Apple to Revamp AirTags

Apple AirTag

Apple has announced a number of changes to its AirTags amid news that the tiny tracker has been connected to some serious crimes, such as car theft and stalking.

“We have been actively working with law enforcement on all AirTag-related requests we’ve received,” the company said on its website Thursday (Feb. 10). “Based on our knowledge and on discussions with law enforcement, incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many.”

Apple says it will update its iPhone and AirTag software to show a message during set up that explains that using AirTags to track people is a crime in many parts of the world, and that law enforcement has the ability to request user information connected to the software.

The company is also rolling out a feature called “Precision Finding” that alerts iPhone users to unknown AirTags nearby.

That’s important because AirTags’ tiny size allows them to be slipped into someone’s bag or pocket without that person noticing.

Read more: AirTags, Apple Card Update Dominate Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event

“We’ve heard from users who have reported receiving an “Unknown Accessory Detected” alert,” the company said.

“We’ve confirmed this alert will not display if an AirTag is detected near you — only AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or a third-party Find My network accessory. In the same software update, we will be updating the alert users receive to indicate that AirPods have been traveling with them instead of an “Unknown Accessory.”

AirTags were introduced by Apple last year, designed to be used with the company’s Find My app to locate lost items using an iPhone.

Apple also says it’s working with law enforcement to provide serial number and Apple ID information in response to subpoenas in cases involving  AirTag-related crimes. The company also said it has been able to work with police in a few cases to identify suspects who were later arrested and charged.