iOS 15.4 beta introduces new AirTags anti-stalking features

According to 9to5Mac, the latest beta for iOS 15.4 has new capabilities aimed at preventing Apple’s AirTags from being used to follow people. Most importantly, during the setup process, there is a new privacy warning that advises that using AirTags to track someone without their agreement may be illegal, and that law enforcement may request information on an unknown AirTags’ owner. The notification reads, “AirTag is Linked To Your Apple ID.”

After a slew of press reports revealed that Apple’s AirTags had been used to track people without their consent, the company introduced a slew of additional security protections for them earlier this month. Apple didn’t give a specific release date for the new safety features at the time, just stating that they would arrive “later this year.”

Apple releases iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 public beta - news

9to5Mac reports that iOS 15.4 can now identify when an unidentified pair of AirPods is discovered traveling with you, in addition to the additional privacy alert. According to MacRumors, AirPods formerly sent a more generic “Unknown Accessory Alert” notification, which prompted some users to become confused. The ability to stop safety alerts when a tracker is discovered in your neighborhood has also been eliminated, and the Find My app now has new tracking notification options.

Other anti-stalking AirTag features announced by Apple earlier this month include a faster alert when an unknown AirTag is detected in their presence, as well as the ability to use the precise ultrawideband tracking in newer iPhones to locate an AirTag that isn’t theirs (previously, this was only available to an AirTag’s owner). Apple claims that tracking notifications displayed on an iPhone will be linked with an AirTag’s alert sounds to make them more prominent.

Along with the new anti-stalking capabilities, iOS 15.4’s fourth beta includes a new American Siri voice, which according to Axios is less gendered than the voice assistant’s current selections. Face ID functionality when wearing masks and Apple’s new Universal Control feature are among the other new iOS 15.4 features. Although an official release date for iOS 15.4 has yet to be announced, it is expected to be available to the general public next month.

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