Apple and Google team up to fight Bluetooth tracker stalking

Apple and Google have joined forces to push for adopting new industry standards designed to stop stalking via Bluetooth-enabled location-tracking devices.

The  unveiled today by the two tech giants proposes that vendors making devices that could enable unwanted tracking should make it easier to alert the targeted individuals when this happens.

“The first-of-its-kind specification will allow Bluetooth location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across iOS and Android platforms,”  and  said in coordinated press releases published today.

“Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, which offers best practices and instructions for manufacturers, should they choose to build these capabilities into their products. “

If manufacturers adopt the newly proposed technical standard, it will provide compatibility with Android and iOS unwanted tracking detection and alerting technology.

This will make detecting unwanted tracking via misused location-tracking accessories much more straightforward since iOS and Android devices will be able to alert users that a location tracker is being used to monitor their activities via “Bluetooth crowd-sourcing, GPS/GNSS location, WiFi location, cellular location, or by some other means.”

“We built AirTag and the Find My network with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — and we continue to make improvements to help ensure the technology is being used as intended,” Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensing and Connectivity, said.

“This new industry specification builds upon the AirTag protections, and through collaboration with Google results in a critical step forward to help combat unwanted tracking across iOS and Android.”

Find and deactivate some tracking devices

Apple already allows users to find nearby AirTag or AirPod devices that could be misused to track individuals through features  and via a .

The Android app can help detect item trackers within Bluetooth range, separated from their owner, and compatible with Apple’s Find My network.

The company also provides info on  unknown AirTag, AirPods, or  so that their owner will no longer receive location updates.

Despite Apple’s efforts to make it easier to spot such devices and fight stalking, victims often have issues finding such devices as they’re commonly warned they’re being tracked with delays of up to 12 hours, as a  revealed more than a year ago.

“Bluetooth trackers have created tremendous user benefits but also bring the potential of unwanted tracking, which requires industry-wide action to solve,” added Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of Engineering for Android. 

“Android has an unwavering commitment to protecting users and will continue to develop strong safeguards and collaborate with the industry to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices.”