Apple recently released the third pubic beta of iOS 14.5 which includes the “Item Safety Features” to offer protection against stalking for “AirTags”, Apple’s long-rumored electronic Bluetooth trackers. The tags are designed to attach to various objects and services and users can track them via their Find My app on iPhone.
Though the idea behind AirTags is item-tracking, it is possible that an individual with ill-intentions could use these trackers to stalk people. Thus, the “Item Safety Features” is Apple’s response to the critique surrounding its rumored Tile-like Bluetooth trackers.
iOS 14.5 beta 3 includes ‘Item Safety Feature’ to prevent stalking
Spotted by Benjamin Mayo in the latest iOS 14.5 beta, the new feature is aimed at preventing the misuse of AirTags.
“Something I hadn’t considered before: new beta includes a Item Safety setting in Find My. This is how Apple is trying to prevent ‘stalking’ with AirTags. If someone secretly hides a tag in your possessions, your phone will notice and warn you about it.
The setting is on by default which makes sense, but the fact you can turn it off at all probably means that this fires false positive alerts in some circumstances.”
According to AppleInsider, the feature was found in early versions of iOS 14.3 but was removed until its reappearance in iOS 14.5. The setting is enabled by default and if you turn the setting off, a pop-up will appear warning users that unknown devices have access to their location without them being notified: “the owner of an unknown item will be able to see your location.”
Something I hadn’t considered before: new beta includes a Item Safety setting in Find My. This is how Apple is trying to prevent 'stalking' with AirTags. If someone secretly hides a tag in your possessions, your phone will notice and warn you about it. pic.twitter.com/NVJyAZlthw
— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) March 4, 2021
It seems clear the “Item Safety Feature” setting has been designed to make sure no one drops an AirTag into the pocket or a bag of an individual with their consent or knowledge to track them. The feature is able to alert users when an un-paired tracker is in their possession by distinguishing between tracking devices like AirTags that are paired to your iPhone or Apple ID.
It seems logical that this feature was not just designed for AirTags. We assume the setting will work with all items in the ‘Find My’ ecosystem including Tile and Chipolo Bluetooth trackers. A recent report suggests Apple is expected to unveil its AirTags as early as this month, possibly at a virtual event. There have been claims that the Bluetooth tracker will be sold for $49 per unit.