Apple Introduces Personal Safety User Guide; Airtags Concerns And Other Issues Addressed

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Apple has released a "Personal Safety User Guide" to address the concerns about the use of Apple's AirTags to stalk individuals.

 

The book also contains information on how to protect oneself using AirTags, Apple's Bluetooth trackers that were released last year to enable consumers to locate down misplaced devices.
"This information is designed to help customers facing technology-enabled abuse, stalking, or harassment understands the alternatives available across the Apple ecosystem that can help you safeguard your personal safety," Apple states on its website.

Apple Introduces Personal Safety User Guide

The site is mainly repackaging a data privacy guidance that was previously published roughly a year ago, as 9to5Mac pointed out. Overall, creating an easily accessible resource to help individuals keep their information safe or learn what to do if their safety is threatened is a positive thing.

Where To Find Personal Safety User Guide

An introduction explainer, a "review and take action" section, personal safety checklists, and a list of available safety and privacy tools make up the hub. Besides from AirTag security, the tutorial covers topics like limiting unexpected sign-in attempts, securing data in iCloud, configuring Touch and FaceID, and regulating how others can view your location.

 

When the AirTags were released in April 2021, Apple stated that the devices included built-in anti-stalking features. This includes sound alarms and notifications delivered to iPhones whenever an AirTag was discovered traveling with them over time. However, several reviewers panned the measures, claiming that they were insufficient, especially as the AirTags took three days to play a sound alert at first.

After being separated from the owner's iPhone for eight to twenty-four hours, Apple altered it to a random duration between eight and twenty-four hours. Apple also just introduced the Tracker Detect app, which allows Android users to monitor their surroundings for intrusive AirTags. AirTags are also prohibited from being used for anything other than recovering missing objects, according to Pennsylvania State Representative John Galloway.

AirTags Issues Addressed

While the guide is useful, the timing is predictable. Several news organizations, including CNBC, BBC News, The Guardian, and The New York Times, have reported in recent weeks on multiple instances of consumers receiving notifications that they had been monitored by an unknown AirTag. Others have shared their personal experiences on social media platforms such as TikTok, while Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader recounted her own encounter on her Instagram Stories in early January.

The AirTag safety section in Apple's Personal Safety User Guide is quite straightforward. It explains how the Find My network's Bluetooth identifiers are frequently modified, how anti-stalking mechanisms operate, what to do if you receive an AirTag alert or receive a notification, and how to check for AirTags on Android.

The idea is to determine whether the item has been lost, play a sound to locate the AirTag, and inform local law authorities if the user's safety is threatened. However, despite receiving notifications, authorities were unsure how to assist victims, and attempts to locate the stealthy AirTags were not always effective, according to recent reports.

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