Apple released iOS 15.2 beta on Nov. 10, which adds a new AirTag feature that thwarts creeps from using the tracking device to stalk unsuspecting victims. According to MacRumors, the Find My app now lets users scan for AirTags that may be tracking their location.
With a distraught woman claiming she was stalked with an AirTag in a viral TikTok and The Washington Post chastising Apple for not doing enough to discourage unwanted tracking, the Cupertino-based tech giant likely felt pressured to add more AirTag safety features to the Find My app.
iOS 15.2 beta adds anti-stalking feature for AirTags
As mentioned, iOS 15.2 beta arms users with a new scanning feature that's designed to issue an alert if there's a nearby AirTag tracking their every move. After installing the beta, iPhone users can access this perk by opening the Find My app, tapping on the "Items" tab and selecting "Items That Can Track Me." This initiates a search for nearby items that may be tracking the user's location.
If an item is found, the app offers instructions on how to render the device inoperable so that it no longer tracks the user. It's also worth noting that this isn't the only anti-stalking feature Apple has implemented. AirTags are engineered to start playing a chime between eight and 24 hours after being separated from their owners. On top of that, iPhone users will get an alert if a suspicious AirTag is traveling with them.
Of course, Apple owners have the upper hand here; Android users won't get alerts if an AirTag is tracking them. Fortunately, according to MacRumors, Apple is working on launching an Android app that will let non-Apple users detect unknown AirTags (and other Find My-enabled devices).
Apple also introduced a "Help Return Lost Items" option to iOS 15.2 beta. This feature lets users locate lost devices and provides guidelines on how to contact their owners.
Lastly, iOS 15.2 beta lets users appoint loved ones as "legacy contacts." In other words, should an iPhone user pass away, legacy contacts can gain access to their account.
The iOS 15.2 release date is unknown, but it will likely roll out to a wider audience in the coming weeks.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!