Apple and Google are finally working together to stop Bluetooth tracking that you don’t want.

The tech giants are working together to stop people from Bluetooth stalking.

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Around the same time last year, Google and Apple announced a new standard that would stop Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices from following people around without their knowledge. 

The specs were just an idea at the time. It can be very helpful to find keys or other things with the best Bluetooth trackers. But they can also be used in bad ways to keep track of people, usually without their knowledge. Trackers that used Bluetooth weren’t very good at stopping Apple products.

It looks like the standard is finally going to happen. Apple and Google are putting out a new standard for Bluetooth tracking devices today. It’s called Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers, and it was announced today. 

The original plan was sent to the Internet Engineering Task Force. For three months, anyone who was interested could read it and make comments on it. Apple and Google were then able to work together to implement the standard public.

Some people thought that the standard would be made public before the end of 2023. The IETF working group on Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers was still working on the plan as late as March of this year, as shown by meeting records and video. But it looks like everyone worked through it to get the new standard out there. Apple and Google both say they will keep working with the IETF to propose an official standard.

There will be support for the standard in iOS 17.5, which came out this week. Google is making Android 6.0+ devices able to do it. The latest version of Android is 14, and version 15 is set to come out late this fall. This means that the new standard is quite old. 

Anyone with an unknown Bluetooth tracking device will now get an alert on their device that says “[Item] Found Moving With You.” This will happen no matter what platform the device is paired with.

If someone gets the warning, it means that a Bluetooth tag like an AirTag, Find My, or another device is moving with them. Apple says that the iPhone will look at the tracker’s ID and have the tracker play a sound to help find it. It will also give you access to advice on how to turn off the Bluetooth device. 

The warning looks a little different on Android. If a Bluetooth tracker that isn’t known to Android is found, it will show an alert that says “Tracker traveling with you.” But in the same way, it will let users play a sound to find the device and get directions on how to turn it off. 

Apple says that Bluetooth designers such as Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee have pledged to make sure that their future Bluetooth trackers function with the modern rules.

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