Find My and unwanted tracking

Apple has raised an issue that was long overlooked. We have dog trackers, car trackers etc. where we can find these items. They communicate over mobile or IoT networks, so you know where they are. The problem is that people travel with these things. You don’t only know where your stuff is, you can also follow the person.

This never was a problem until Apple opened their Find My network. When they introduced the AirTags, it suddenly became apparent that these devices can be used to track people, mostly because Apple introduced a way to be warned about these items travelling with you.

AirTags work exceptionally well, since they can rely on all Apple devices to relay their location, they are small and easily hidden, they run at least a year on one battery. However, AirTags are also a snitch. They start making noise when they travel away from their owner.

This can be a bit of a nuisance if you share things in your family. Our dog has an AirTag on her collar, but it is my tag and cannot be shared amongst family members. Only I can see where she is, and others get warned if they walk the dog.

You don’t get a warning if you carry a Tile tracker. Not a big problem, since they don’t work very well because there are just not enough Tile owners to make the network work.

This is not a static situation. Apple can and will finetune the Find My network and all the items it tracks. Today, they have issued a statement about upcoming changes. Unfortunately, there is no word about family sharing in this update.

Unwanted side effect for me: the easier it is to find a roaming AirTag the less useful it becomes at recovering stolen items.

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