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Apple publishes new information about AirTags as tracking controversy continues

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 (Apple)
(Apple)

Apple has updated a “Personal Safety User Guide” amid an ongoing controversy about its AirTags tracking devices.

The company launched the tags last year, touting them as a safe and secure way to track the location of important objects, such as bags and keys. But in recent weeks a number of reports have suggested the tags are being used to track people by being attached to their cars or other devices.

Apple has said that the tags are built with security in mind, and include a range of features intended to ensure they cannot be used to stalk people or threaten their personal safety. They include alerts that will trigger if an AirTag is moving with a person, showing up as a phone notification to let people know they could be tracked.

Those features have not proven enough to allay concerns that the tags could nonetheless be used to endanger people’s safety. Reports have documented worries that the tags are being attached to expensive cars so that thieves could follow them, or that the tags have been dropped into people’s bags so that they can be watched without their knowledge.

The new updates to Apple’s personal safety guide aim to highlight the features intended to stop that happening, as well as giving advice to people concerned that they might be the victim of it. It explains what the alerts mean, for instance, as well as giving advice on how Android users can spot unknown AirTags.

It also explains that AirTags might make a sound if they are separated from their owner for a while and then moved. It explains how people can make use of NFC features to find the owner – as well as how to contact law enforcement if users feel that their safety might be at risk.

The guide has been around for a while, and always offered advice to those who were concerned about being tracked using Apple devices. But the new changes aim to specifically address people’s concerns about how that tracking might happen with AirTags.

The guide can be found on Apple’s support website. It offers a large table of contents which can be used to navigate to the section on AirTags as well as a variety of other areas.

The updates to the guide do not only add AirTag information, but also document other features such as Apple’s smart home tools and its App Privacy Report.