9to5Mac’s Benjamin Mayo caught a new feature in the latest iOS 14.5 beta:
Something I hadn’t considered before: new beta includes a Item Safety setting in Find My. This is how Apple is trying to prevent ‘stalking’ with AirTags. If someone secretly hides a tag in your possessions, your phone will notice and warn you about it. pic.twitter.com/NVJyAZlthw
— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) March 4, 2021
Jason and I discussed this problem on a past episode of the Six Colors podcast: If Apple is indeed making a compact tracking fob designed to be attached to objects—à la the Tile trackers, but leveraging the huge number of Apple devices in the world—how do you keep someone from illicitly tracking you using such a device?
This answer seems pretty clever: the system will notice if there’s a device that’s traveling with you, but isn’t registered to your Apple ID, and will notify you. In iOS 14.5’s Find My app, Apple lets you disable these notifications (presumably if you want to use a tracking fob attached to, say, a family member’s Apple ID). It’s good to see Apple considering the implications of such a device, especially given the company’s vocal stance on privacy.
This feature also continues to add fuel to the fire that a supposed tracking fob device is probably coming at some point in the not too distant future.