Apple and Google Join Forces to Stop Bluetooth Devices from Tracking Users

Google and Apple have come together to put a stop to unwanted Bluetooth tracking of people by devices like AirTags, which are used for finding lost items. This move comes after multiple concerns were raised regarding privacy and security with the use of such devices. Google and Apple have submitted a draft with specifications for all Bluetooth tracking devices, which will alert users of any unauthorized tracking on both iOS and Android devices. The specifications integrate feedback from manufacturers and various safety and advocacy groups.

Specifications to Stop Unauthorized Tracking

Bluetooth tracking allows individuals to find their lost items, but it also opens up the possibility for unwanted tracking of people’s movements. To combat this issue, Google and Apple have submitted a draft to require all Bluetooth location-tracking devices to alert users of any unauthorized tracking on both iOS and Android devices. The draft includes specifications that integrate feedback from device manufacturers and various safety and advocacy groups. Major companies such as Samsung Electronics and consumer electronics company Tile have already expressed support for these specifications.

Airtags and Privacy Concerns

AirTags have come under fire from privacy experts and law enforcement due to the potential for them to be used for criminal or malicious purposes. They are intended to be slipped into or attached to keys, wallets, backpacks, and other items so people can find them when they are lost. However, the misuse of such devices has become a real concern, with people using them to track others without their consent. To boost privacy, Apple had launched an Android detector app in 2021 to help users scan nearby AirTags or other similar item trackers that might be travelling with them without their knowledge.

Prioritizing Privacy over Location Tracking

Earlier in 2020, Apple and Google had agreed to ban location tracking in apps that use a contact tracing system meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. This move was made to ensure privacy was not compromised, despite the need for contact tracing to help curb the pandemic. Now, with the new draft of specifications, Google and Apple are making it clear that privacy is a top priority when it comes to Bluetooth tracking devices as well.

Reactions to the Draft Specifications

The draft specifications put forth by Google and Apple have already garnered support from major companies such as Samsung Electronics and Tile. This move will bring much-needed privacy protection to people who use Bluetooth tracking devices such as AirTags. However, there are concerns that these new specifications may hinder the functionality of such devices. Manufacturers will need to ensure that their devices can alert users of unauthorized tracking without impeding their ability to locate lost items efficiently.

The Future of Bluetooth Tracking Devices

The proposed specifications by Google and Apple are part of a larger effort to ensure privacy is not compromised when it comes to location tracking. As more and more people rely on technology to find their lost items, it becomes increasingly important to protect their privacy. The new specifications will require manufacturers to make necessary changes to their devices to provide added privacy protection for users. As technology continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how these devices will be affected and what new measures will be put in place to protect people’s privacy.

The Takeaway

Google and Apple coming together to promote privacy is a significant move in the tech industry. While Bluetooth tracking devices such as AirTags are intended to help individuals find their lost items, they have also been misused for more nefarious purposes. By specifying the need for alerting users of unauthorized tracking on Bluetooth devices, Google and Apple are prioritizing the privacy and security of their users. With the draft already receiving support from major companies, it is hoped that the tech industry will continue to prioritize privacy concerns in the future.


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