Apple Executive Says AirTags Is Meant to Track Lost Items, Not Pets or Kids

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 22 Apr 2021

Earlier this week, Apple unveiled the much-rumored AirTags item tracker. Priced at $29, the AirTags works with the Find My app and lets you track things like purse, wallet, car keys, and much more. Apple’s senior director of sensing and connectivity, Ron Huang, revealed a lot about AirTags and highlighted design and privacy features.

In true Apple style, the company wanted to design a product “in a way that no one has done before.” AirTags embraces a minimalist and functional design. The most important feature of AirTags is user privacy. The executive iterates how it uses encrypted networks and doesn’t allow any third party to read the location. Huang also clarifies that someone who has found an AirTag will not be able to pair it with their iPhone. On the privacy front, AirTags uses randomized Bluetooth identifiers that cannot be re-identified.

This entire process is end-to-end encrypted so that no one but the owner of the AirTag—not the owners of the crowdsourced devices picking up the AirTag’s location or even Apple itself—ever has access to the AirTag’s current or past location. And the Bluetooth identifiers that AirTags emit are not only randomized but “are rotated many times a day and never reused so that as you travel from place to place with the AirTag, you cannot be re-identified.

Drance and Huang are also keen to note that though almost a billion Apple devices act as a crowdsourced monitoring network that helps keep track of AirTags, the AirTag owner can never see which devices its AirTag’s location is pinging off of or who owns those devices.

Huang highlights the vast network of Apple devices that will help track devices in a much easier way. Meanwhile, device owners will never come to know who owns the lost device or the information being pinged off their device. The “Pairing Lock” feature is similar to iPhone’s Activation Lock. It protects your AirTags from the person who has found it.

AirTag not meant for tracking kids, pets

One might wonder what if AirTag is used to track their movement or spy on their moments? Well, Apple has already thought of it and baked in a new feature into Find My App. Whenever the app detects an unknown tracking device like AirTag, it will alert the owners. Apple suggests the parent are better off using Apple Watch with Family Setup to track their kids.

[via Fast Company]