Apple’s New App Helps Android Users Detect Unwanted AirTag Stalking

Apple’s New App Helps Android Users Detect Unwanted AirTag Stalking
Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

Apple just announced a new Android app called Tracker Detect, making good on its promise to extend the ability to identify nearby AirTags and Find My trackers to Android users so that they can tell whether or not they’re being unexpectedly surveilled.

The app, which Apple made available in the Google Play store on Monday, instructs users that they can use it to “scan to try to find” nearby AirTags or other location-tracking devices compatible with Apple’s Find My network that might be nearby. If this sounds paranoid, it’s not: Although Apple claims it’s implemented a host of protections aimed at curbing their potential for abuse, AirTags are small and discrete enough to be attached to a variety of personal items, including keys, wallets, or even cars. While their original purpose is to help users find the items that they’re attached to if they get lost, AirTags have some users and privacy advocates spooked about what could happen in the event that they fall into the wrong hands (the wrong hands, in this case, primarily meaning stalkers, domestic abusers, or otherwise violent individuals.)

Not only are AirTags ripe for abuse, but they’re also cheap: A$45 apiece, or A$149 for a four-pack. Pair that with their increasing ubiquity — Apple’s Find My network currently leverages more than 1 billion active iPhones, more than any other device-tracking service — and you have a recipe for disaster.

The Tracker Detector app works by identifying nearby AirTags that have been presumably separated from their owners, which are marked on the Find My map as “Unknown AirTags.” Within 10 minutes of identifying the stray tracker, the app will sound a chime, alerting users to the presence of an unclaimed device nearby. Once a tracker has been identified, the app then provides users with instructions on how to remove its battery, in addition to a recommendation that they contact law enforcement if they believe that their safety is at risk.

Tracker Detector is currently available for download in the Google Play store and does not require an Apple account to use.