Apple is putting stalkers who abuse AirTags on notice. Apple’s fourth beta of its iOS 15.4 has just been released and was confirmed by 9to5Mac to feature an anti-stalking alert when users set up an AirTag. This new privacy notice warns that you’re only supposed to use the AirTags for your own belongings and that tracking someone without their consent is illegal.
This is one of the first concrete steps that Apple has taken in response to the many reports of AirTags being used to stalk people. Earlier this month, Apple detailed a few ways that they’d update their AirTags to prevent people from using it for illegal purposes.
A stern warning — The first of these anti-stalking updates from Apple can be seen in the latest beta of iOS 15.4. In the new iOS, anyone setting up an AirTag will see a message pop up making it clear that the device is linked to their Apple ID, which contains personally-identifiable info. The message continues to warn that tracking someone without their consent is a “crime in many regions around the world.” Lastly, Apple’s message says that its AirTags were designed to be detected by victims, who could involve law enforcement officials to request identifying information about the AirTag owner.
The iOS 15.4 beta does also help make it way easier to identify what kind of accessory has been found moving around with you, whether it’s a pair of AirPods you borrowed from someone, or an actual nefariously-planted AirTag. On top of that, the beta iOS lets users customize settings for both the Find My and Tracking apps separately.
More measures coming — Apple’s warning prompt when setting up the AirTag is definitely a step in the right direction, but it’s still just a warning that might not be enough to deter all stalkers out there. So on top of this initial anti-stalker measure, Apple also previously detailed a bunch of additional steps they’d be taking.
The company said in the blog post earlier this month that it would implement a new feature called Precision Finding that allows someone to find the exact direction and distance to an unknown AirTag within their range. Also, Apple will have AirTags send louder chirps much earlier. And once those AirTags start chirping, Apple is planning to let any iPhone, iPod or iPod Touch display an alert of the offending nearby AirTag, which you’ll be then able to locate with the Precision Finding tool.
As of now, we only know that the warning notice and adjustable settings are included in Apple’s iOS 15.4 though. The latest beta is currently available to download for developers and public beta users, but Apple is expected to release the next iOS sometime in spring.