Apple and Google are finally teaming up to create a way for you to detect unwanted Bluetooth trackers (such as Apple Airtags) whether you’re on iPhone or Android.
The pair have announced (via Apple’s Newsroom) that through the partnership they have proposed an “industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices.” This specification also has the support of Tile (behind trackers like the Tile Mate), Samsung (which has its Galaxy Tags ), and other brands like Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee.
Stalkers who abuse readily-available Bluetooth trackers like Apple AirTags to follow unsuspecting people have become a major concern for many. To try and combat this Apple’s iPhones can alert you if an unknown AirTag is following you – but there’s currently no automatic detection for people that use a different smartphone brand (though there is an Apple Tracker Detect app on Android that allows you to manually scan for AirTags).
This partnership between Apple, Google, and other companies should reduce the stalking risks associated with Bluetooth trackers by introducing automatic detection for a wide array of trackers to a broader spread of smartphones.
Currently, this initiative is in its early stages, but according to the announcement we should see something implemented before the end of 2023.
Is a Google Tracker on the way?
As Google is behind the widely-used Android mobile operating system its involvement in this Bluetooth tracker partnership could purely be because the solution would need to be OS agnostic – but there’s a chance that this partnership also hints at a long-rumored gadget: Google AirTags.
They wouldn’t be called AirTags, of course, but it’s long been believed that Google is developing its own Bluetooth tracking tags to rival the devices made by Apple, Tile, and Samsung. Beyond that, not much is known about the Google trackers, but it’s believed they’ll be revealed at Google I/O 2023 next week (Wednesday, May 10).
We thankfully don’t have long to wait and see if the rumors are true, but for now, we can appreciate that the newly announced partnership means that if Google's equivalent of Apple's AirTags are revealed, we won’t have to worry as much about if they’re being used to secretly follow us.