A new feature, discovered in the iOS 14.5 beta, will warn Apple users when an unknown item traveling with them is being tracked through the Find My app. The Find My app is available through iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac devices.
The setting, known as Item Safety Alerts, appears to be an attempt to prevent stalking with AirTags, according to iOS developer and Apple blogger Benjamin Mayo.
“If someone secretly hides a tag in your possessions, your phone will notice and warn you about it,” Mayo tweeted. “The setting is on by default which makes sense, but the fact you can turn it off at all probably means that this fires false positive alerts in some circumstances.”
Users who choose to turn the setting off will be given a warning that the owner of an unknown item will be able to see their location and that they will no longer receive notifications when an unkown item is found moving with them.
Though not yet officially released, AirTags have been rumored to be in development by Apple since at least April 2019, when Mac Rumors released screenshots of the potential project. According to the report, AirTags, codenamed “B389”, are small keychain-sized devices that could be attached to everyday items. The items were originally set to debut with iOS 13.
If an item with an AirTag attached is misplaced, Apple users can reportedly place the tag in “Lost Mode.” Then, if another iPhone user comes across the lost item, they will be able to view contact information for the item’s owner and contact them by phone or text message.
AirTags would rival Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag and Tile’s upcoming ultrawideband tracker, according to the Verge. Tile devices have previously been misused for stalking in the past. ABC 13 reported that a Houston woman was repeatedly stalked by her ex using a Tile device in July 2018. In addition, a former beauty queen told ABC News in April 2016 that a stalker was allegedly able to hack into her phone using a similar Tile device.
The new feature comes as Apple is planning to expand the Find My app for use with third-party accessories.
A spokesperson for Apple did not immediately return FOX Business request for comment.
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