Apple just announced a new Android app called Tracker detection, delivering on its promise to extend the ability to identify Nearby AirTags and Find My trackers to Android users so they can know whether or not they are unexpectedly being monitored.
The app, which Apple made available on the Google Play Store on Monday, tells users they can use it to “scan to try to find” AirTags near me or other tracking devices compatible with Apple’s Find My network that may be nearby. If this it sounds paranoid, it’s not: Although Apple claims to have a plethora of protections in place to limit their potential for abuse, AirTags are small enough and unobtrusive enough to be attached to a variety of personal items, including keys, wallets, or even cars. Although their initial goal is to help users find the items they are attached to if they get lost, AirTags have certain users and scared privacy advocates on what might happen in case they fall into the wrong hands (the wrong hands, in this case, which primarily means stalkers, domestic abusers, or otherwise violent people.)
Not only are AirTags ripe for abuse, they’re also cheap: $ 29 each, or $ 99 for a pack of four. Couple that with their growing ubiquity – Apple’s Find My Network currently operates over a billion active iPhones, more than any other device tracking service – and you have the recipe for disaster.
The Tracker Detector app works by identifying nearby AirTags that have likely been separated from their owners. App users can search for unwanted trackers, or if an unknown AirTag has been near a user for more than 10 minutes, the app will sound a chime to alert the user to the presence of an unknown tracker near. Once a tracker has been identified, the app provides users with instructions on how to remove its battery, in addition to a recommendation to contact law enforcement if they believe their safety is at risk.
Tracker Detector is currently available for download from the Google Play store and does not require an Apple account to use it.