Apple releases basic ‘Tracker Detect’ app for AirTags on Android
Apple AirTags use all iPhones and other Apple devices as a massive mesh network, giving them better tracking abilities than most of its competitors (outside of LTE-based trackers). However, the massive network has a downside that Apple hasn’t done much to address: someone can slip an AirTag into your bag or other personal items to keep track of your location. Apple said it would try to fix this back in June, and now part of the solution has arrived: an Android app.
Tracker Detect is now available on the Google Play Store, which can’t be used to set up or manage AirTags — only scan for AirTags and other devices that use Apple’s “Find My” network. Here’s the full app description:
Tracker Detect looks for item trackers that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with Apple’s Find My network. These item trackers include AirTag and compatible devices from other companies. If you think someone is using AirTag or another device to track your location, you can scan to try to find it.
Notably, the app is missing any kind of background scanning abilities, so you can’t set up Tracker Detect to to periodically scan for AirTags around you. That means if you want to make sure someone isn’t using AirTags against you, your only option is open the app every once in a while and let it scan for devices. It’s sad to see Apple essentially provide the bare minimum here, especially when tracking technology is often used against victims of domestic abuse (or for plain stalking).
Apple already alerts people if an unknown AirTag is following them, but the functionality was only available if the person being followed had an iPhone running iOS 14.5 or later. This app adds that same functionality to Android, but without background scanning. AirTags are also supposed to make sounds at random times within 8-24 hours of following a person.