Apple users that have misplaced or lost a device are well aware of just how useful the company's Find My app can be but now it looks like the feature will be getting additional functionality in the next update to iOS.
As reported by 9to5Mac, a new safety feature called “Item Safety Alerts” was recently discovered in the iOS 14.5 beta. When released, this feature will notify users if an unknown device tracked in the Find My app is moving with them so that they can remove it or disable it.
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While Apple has yet to provide further details on Item Safety Alerts, it appears that the feature is designed to prevent stalkers from tracking others by hiding a Find My-compatible device in their pocket or bag. The iPhone maker previously tested out this feature in early versions of iOS 14.3 but it was removed only to be added back again later with the release of the iOS 14.5 beta.
Item Safety Alerts
Apple's Item Safety Alerts feature is enabled by default in the iOS 14.5 beta and it appears that the company is strongly encouraging users against disabling it.
According to a recent Tweet from iOS developer and Apple blogger Benjamin Mayo, if you try to disable the feature, Apple displays the following warning: “Turn Off Item Safety Features? The owner of an unknown item will be able to see your location and you will no longer receive notifications when an unknown item is found moving with you.”
It makes sense that Apple has chosen now to address the risk of stalking in its Find My app due to the fact that the company soon plans to open up the app to third-party accessories. While hiding an iPhone, iPad or even a MacBook in someone's bag would allow another person to track them, doing so with a Tile tag or even Apple's upcoming AirTags makes a great deal more sense as these items would be harder to find.
Additionally, if an Apple device comes near a supported tracker, these trackers are able to update their location even if they don't have their own connection to the internet.
Being able to quickly find your devices and accessories is an extremely useful feature but there is a possibility of abuse which is why Apple plans to bring Item Safety Alerts to iOS soon.
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Via The Verge
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.