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Apple and Google Introduce Alerts for Unwanted Bluetooth Trackers on iOS and Android

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In a collaborative effort aimed at enhancing user privacy and safety, Apple and Google have announced a new feature that alerts iOS and Android users when an unknown Bluetooth tracking device is detected nearby. 

This initiative, named Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers (DULT), represents a significant step towards mitigating the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices for surreptitious tracking purposes.

The feature, first introduced as a joint draft specification in May 2023, has now been implemented on Apple devices as part of iOS 17.5 and is rolling out to Android 6.0+ devices. Users will receive alerts on their devices notifying them if an unidentified Bluetooth tracking device is detected in their vicinity, regardless of the platform it is paired with.

Apple users will see alerts stating “[Item] Found Moving With You,” while Android users will receive similar alerts titled “Tracker traveling with you.” These alerts provide users with the ability to view the tracker’s identifier, play a sound on the tracker (if supported) to aid in locating it, and access instructions to disable it.

The collaboration between Apple and Google extends beyond the implementation of DULT on their respective platforms. Several Bluetooth tracking device manufacturers, including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee, have committed to ensuring compatibility with the DULT specification for their future products.

The introduction of this feature addresses concerns surrounding the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices, which have been exploited by individuals for unauthorized tracking purposes. By providing users with alerts and tools to detect and mitigate such tracking attempts, Apple and Google aim to enhance user safety and privacy in the digital realm.

This initiative has garnered support from advocacy groups such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence, which has long advocated for universal standards to protect individuals from the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices. With the implementation of DULT, users can now benefit from enhanced protections against unwanted tracking while navigating their daily lives.

For more information on this collaborative effort and the DULT specification, users can refer to the official announcements from Apple and Google. 

The implementation of this feature underscores the commitment of both companies to prioritize user privacy and safety in their respective ecosystems.

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