Apple and Google Collaborate to Combat Unwanted Location Tracking with New Industry Specification

The tech giants Apple and Google have worked together to create an industry specification — Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers .

Announced on Monday, the companies revealed a pioneering industry specification named “Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers.” This specification is designed for Bluetooth tracking devices .IPhone and Android users will start seeing alerts when it’s possible that an unknown Bluetooth device is being used to track them, empowering users across both platforms by alerting them if such devices are being used to track their movements without consent.

The collaboration between Apple and Google marks a significant step in enhancing user privacy and security in the digital age. With the rollout of this new capability, users will receive alerts on their devices, indicating the presence of an unknown Bluetooth tracking device moving alongside them over time.

For iOS users, receiving an alert signifies the potential presence of someone else’s AirTag, Find My accessory, or other compatible Bluetooth tracker in close proximity. While it could be innocently attached to a borrowed item, users are provided with options to identify the tracker, locate it with sound assistance, and disable it if necessary.

Several leading Bluetooth tag manufacturers, including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee, have pledged compatibility with the industry specification, ensuring that future products align with these privacy and safety standards.

Apple emphasizes its longstanding commitment to prioritizing consumer privacy and safety with features like AirTag and third-party Find My network accessories. The collaboration with Google underscores the importance of cross-platform cooperation in addressing common challenges faced by users.

Moreover, the collaborative effort extends beyond the development of the industry specification itself. Apple and Google are actively engaging with the Internet Engineering Task Force through the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers working group to establish an official standard for this technology, further solidifying their dedication to ongoing innovation in privacy protection.

This landmark collaboration not only sets a precedent for industry cooperation but also underscores the vital role of community and industry input in shaping technological advancements. Moving forward, Apple and Google remain committed to fostering a safer and more secure digital ecosystem for users worldwide.

The implementation of this capability begins today with Apple’s iOS 17.5 update, while Google is set to launch this feature on Android 6.0+ devices, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to combat unwanted location tracking.

Stay tuned for further developments as Apple and Google continue to lead the charge in safeguarding user privacy and security in an increasingly interconnected world.

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