Saturday, December 4, 2021

Latest iOS beta lets you manually scan for sneaky AirTags

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Among the features added to iOS 15.2’s second beta is a new option in the Find My app that lets you manually scan your surroundings for AirTags and other Find My-enabled devices that someone might be using to track you. The feature, which is detailed by MacRumors, is accessible via a new “Items That Can Track Me” option listed in the Find My app’s Items menu.

Hit the link, and the app will report if there are any devices nearby that aren’t owned by you and which have Apple’s tracking technology enabled. The app can then give instructions on how to disable the device. Alternatively, there’s a “Help Return Lost Items” option for items that have ended up in your vicinity accidentally rather than maliciously, which replaces the previous “Identify Found Item” text.

The feature is accessible from the “Items That Can Track Me” menu item.
Image: MacRumors

AirTags are designed to let you keep track of items like keys or a bike in case they’re lost or stolen. The new beta feature is Apple’s latest attempt to assuage critics who quickly pointed out that the tiny AirTags are also pretty good at tracking people and identified some shortcomings in the safety features Apple included at launch.

In June, Apple announced an initial series of measures to address these concerns. So rather than waiting until an AirTag had spent three whole days away from its owner before emitting a warning chime, AirTags now do so after just eight to 24 hours. Apple also announced that it is building an app for Android users to alert them to the presence of unwanted trackers and said that it would be launching later this year.

Other tweaks that have arrived with iOS 15.2’s second beta include the introduction of the Legacy Contact feature Apple announced at WWDC 2021, which lets loved ones access your account and personal information in the event of your death. The Communication Safety feature for the Messages app is also returning, although it now won’t notify a parent when nudity is detected in an image. It’ll just blur the image and offer safety resources. There’s also a new Hide My Email option in the mail app, and the interface of the Apple TV app has been tweaked.

As with every iOS beta, however, there’s always that chance that any one of these features may be tweaked or removed entirely before its stable release.

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