To further improve user security, Android, the most popular mobile OS, has introduced a new feature called “Unknown Tracker Alerts.” In an effort to safeguard Android users from stalking incidents involving Bluetooth tracking devices like Apple’s AirTags, this feature was first announced at Google I/O this spring. It’s critical to address these worries and equip users with the tools they need to protect themselves as the use of Bluetooth tracking for illegal activities like stalking and theft becomes more commonplace.
The ability of Bluetooth tracking devices like Apple AirTags to help users find misplaced items has led to their rise in popularity in recent years. Concerns about privacy and security have been raised due to the inappropriate use of such devices. There have been multiple reports detailing stalking and illegal tracking using AirTags. Apple, realizing the seriousness of the situation, has added privacy warnings and alerts to their devices.
While Apple took steps to protect iPhone users from being tracked via Bluetooth, Android users had no such protections until now. A joint announcement from Apple and Google in May 2023 indicated the companies’ intent to collaborate on an industry standard for notifying users of Bluetooth tracking. Thanks to their combined efforts, Android now has a feature called Unknown Tracker Alerts, which will alert users whenever a new tracker is detected.
Android’s “Play Sound” button makes the device make a noise to help you find it. This function aids users in determining the precise location of the tracker. If the item is located, the user can get more details by placing it close to the rear of their Android device. This data could be the tracker’s serial number or personal information, like the owner’s name and the last four digits of their phone number. With this knowledge in hand, users can take the necessary steps to turn off the Bluetooth device, rendering themselves untrackable and preventing the tracker from sending any further updates.
Android also allows users to manually scan their immediate vicinity for nearby Bluetooth trackers, in case they miss any of the automatic alerts. Users who have reason to believe they are in the presence of a tracking device will find this function especially helpful. A manual scan can be started by going to Android’s Settings, tapping on “Safety & Emergency,” and then selecting “Unknown Tracker Alerts,” and finally tapping on the “Scan Now” button. The scan takes less than a minute, and if a tracker is found, the user is given advice on what to do next.
The addition of Unknown Tracker Alerts to Android is a huge step forward for user security and privacy. This function equips Android users with the means to identify and counter tracking threats. Though not limited to it, the company cares deeply about its customers’ security in more ways than just Bluetooth trackers.
Unknown Tracker Alerts are a huge step forward for Android in protecting users from dangerous Bluetooth trackers. Android users can now detect tracking both automatically and manually, giving them a leg up when it comes to spotting threats and responding accordingly. Android, in collaboration with Apple, is helping to shape industry-wide standards that will eventually make users safer.
Companies like Android, which are at the forefront of the ever-changing mobile technology landscape, must place a premium on user safety and privacy. Android proves its dedication to providing users with cutting-edge technology while maintaining their trust by remaining at the forefront of innovation and collaborating with industry leaders.
Because of this, Android users can rest assured that their devices can identify and counteract tracking threats. Android’s Unknown Tracker Alerts give you the tools you need to protect your privacy and keep up with the fast-paced digital world.
First reported on TechCrunch
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are Unknown Tracker Alerts on Android?
Unknown Tracker Alerts is a new feature introduced by Android to enhance user security. It is designed to safeguard Android users from stalking incidents involving Bluetooth tracking devices like Apple’s AirTags. The feature automatically alerts users whenever a new tracker is detected in their immediate area, allowing them to be aware of potential tracking attempts.
2. Why was the introduction of Unknown Tracker Alerts necessary?
Bluetooth tracking devices like Apple AirTags have become popular for helping users find misplaced items. However, concerns about privacy and security arose due to the misuse of these devices, leading to stalking and illegal tracking incidents. The absence of such protections on Android devices put users at risk, prompting the need for a solution.
3. How does Unknown Tracker Alerts work?
When an unknown Bluetooth device is detected in the user’s immediate area, an alarm will sound automatically, alerting the user that they may be being followed or stalked. Users can also manually scan for trackers using their Android device, and if one is discovered, they’ll receive instructions on how to deal with it. The feature provides valuable data about the tracker’s location and serial number, empowering users to assess their risk and take appropriate action.
4. How can Android users use Unknown Tracker Alerts?
Android users can enable Unknown Tracker Alerts by going to their device’s Settings, tapping on “Safety & Emergency,” and selecting “Unknown Tracker Alerts.” From there, they can manually initiate a scan for nearby Bluetooth trackers, and if any are found, they’ll receive guidance on what to do next.
5. What other security measures has Android implemented?
Apart from Unknown Tracker Alerts, Android has also made updates to its Find My Device system. This revision enables users to use third-party Bluetooth tracker tags to find misplaced items like headphones, phones, luggage, and keys. Android’s Find My Device network supports compatibility with various tracker brands, ensuring users can locate their devices even when they are not online.
6. What is the collaboration between Android and Apple for industry-wide standards?
Google and Apple are working together to create a joint specification for unwanted tracker alerts by the end of the year. Both companies are committed to user security, and this collaboration aims to standardize Bluetooth tracking devices to make users safer across different platforms.
7. How does Android prioritize user safety and privacy?
Android, as a leading player in the mobile technology landscape, places a premium on user safety and privacy. By introducing features like Unknown Tracker Alerts and collaborating with industry leaders, Android demonstrates its dedication to providing cutting-edge technology while maintaining user trust.
8. How can Android users benefit from Unknown Tracker Alerts?
Unknown Tracker Alerts equip Android users with the means to identify and counter tracking threats. The feature empowers users to take immediate action upon detecting potential stalking or illegal tracking attempts, enhancing their privacy and safety in the fast-paced digital world.
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