Apple and Google roll out industry standard to detect unwanted Bluetooth trackers

A new industry standard, co-created by Apple and Google, tackles the growing privacy concerns surrounding Bluetooth trackers. With devices like Apple AirTags gaining traction, anxieties have risen about their potential for stalking and unwanted tracking. Imagine a suspicious package arriving at your doorstep, or a stranger brushing past you on the street and slipping a tracker into your bag. These are just some of the common concerns that have emerged with the rise of Bluetooth trackers.

To combat these anxieties, both tech giants have introduced the “Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers (DULT)” standard. DULT is a cross-platform effort designed to prevent Bluetooth trackers from being misused for malicious purposes.

Apple Google

The DULT standard is a cross-platform initiative designed to prevent Bluetooth trackers from being misused to track people without their knowledge. iOS 17.5 now implements alerts for unknown third-party Bluetooth trackers, while Android devices running 6.0 and higher received this feature last December. From Apple’s announcement:

AirTag and third-party Find My network accessories were designed from the beginning with industry-first privacy and safety protections, and Apple has remained committed to innovating and supplementing these protections to keep consumers safe. This cross-platform collaboration — also an industry first, involving community and industry input — offers instructions and best practices for manufacturers, should they choose to build unwanted tracking alert capabilities into their products.

Users will receive an “[Item] Found Moving With You” alert on their device if an unknown Bluetooth tracking device is detected. Regardless of the platform the device is paired with, this alert will notify users if a tracker conforming to the DULT standard is traveling with them without the owner’s knowledge.

This alert transcends individual platforms, functioning regardless of the tracker’s pairing system. As long as the tracker adheres to DULT, you’ll be notified if it travels with you for an extended period. The notification displays the tracker’s ID and offers options to locate it by sound or disable it completely.

The introduction of DULT aims to prevent cases of unwanted tracking, addressing valid privacy concerns. Chipolo, Pebblebee, Motorola, Jio, and Eufy have already announced their support for the standard, with more companies expected to follow suit.

This collaboration between Apple and Google is an industry-first, involving community and industry input. Both companies are committed to working with the Internet Engineering Task Force to develop the official standard for this technology further.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

Leave a comment