Android to Warn of Nefarious AirTag Tracking

John Lister's picture

Android users can now get alerts if a tracking device such as an Apple AirTag may be targeting them. The alerts were already available on iPhones, but Google and Apple are now working together, albeit with some holdups.

An Apple AirTag is a small device that emits a Bluetooth signal. The idea is to attach it to valuable or important items such as keys, purses or luggage. Around a billion Apple devices are set to scan for the signals and anonymously report the location and identity of the AirTags, meaning that owners can track down lost items with varying degrees of precision.

Like most tech, it was soon abused, with reports of stalkers sneakily hiding an AirTag in clothes or bags belonging to a victim, letting them track the victim's movements without the victim knowing what was happening. Another recent and nefarious use of AirTags includes car thieves that mark, monitor and steal expensive cars at an opportune time.

Audible Alerts Can Track Down Tracker

Apple has recently built-in a counter-measure that means iPhones will detect when they are moving from location to location and an unknown AirTag is making the same journey. In such a case, iPhone users will get an alert on their phone. If they are unable to find the AirTag after a while, the AirTag will emit an alert sound.

After negotiation between Apple and Google, the alerts will now work on phones running Android 6 or later. As well as getting on-screen notifications, users can go into the "Safety & Emergency" menu to carry out a manual scan of nearby AirTags or to see a record of any devices detected in the past 48 hours. (Source:

If a user finds the AirTag, they can hold it near to their phone for more details. Depending on the device, the user can discover the tracker's serial number or the final four digits of the phone number belonging to the tracker's owner.

Google Building Own Network

Google plans to build its own tracking device network, using Android phones to anonymously relay locations to tracker owners in a similar way to how iPhones help track AirTags. However, Google says it wants to join forces with Apple so that the two networks interact, making both more useful.

Google now says that its network, originally planned to launch this summer, is on hold while it wait for Apple to implement additional protections against unknown tracking devices. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you ever used an AirTag or similar tracking device? Would you want alerts if such a device appeared to be on your person or in your belongings? Is it a smart move for Google and Apple to work together both to make the trackers more accurate and to protect against misuse?

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Focused100's picture

As a Pixel owner I would support Google and Apple working together to establish a common network. I like a tracker being discovered if it was placed nefariously. And I love the concept of tracking luggage.

davolente_10330's picture

Nice to see some co-operation between "rivals"!