Technology

AirTags are sending out a new type of false positive, the report says

Apple’s AirTags send ‘phantom’ alerts that confuse iPhone users, according to a new report Wall Street Journal Report. The AirTags, launched last year, have anti-stalking measures designed to alert users if an unfamiliar AirTag has been spotted on them for an extended period of time. The idea is to stop AirTags from tracking people without their consent.

That WSJ reports that these false alarms generally occur in the middle of the night and have been popping up for the past few weeks. When a person receives an unknown AirTag alert, they should see an accompanying map showing where and for how long the AirTag was detected on them. However, these false alarms are accompanied by maps that depict multiple straight lines radiating out from a person’s location. If you’ve ever seen an unknown AirTag alert, this is highly unusual and seems to indicate something wrong with the system.

It’s unclear how common this particular false alarm is, although it’s not the only type of false alarm a person can experience. When testing the AirTag’s security features, I was repeatedly told that my own AirTag was tracking me. Several users have reported a similar experience on Reddit and other social media. Likewise, other users have reported seeing confusing alerts being triggered by their AirPods – an issue Apple fixed in a recent update to better distinguish between alerts being triggered by different accessories.

AirTags

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

In which WSJ Users report that the alerts make them nervous — especially when they can’t seem to find an AirTag on them. In one instance, a user said he couldn’t force the supposedly unknown AirTag to play a sound, and the FindMy app said the AirTag was unreachable. This also happened several times in my tests, even though the AirTag in question was only a few centimeters away.

Following multiple reports of unwanted stalking earlier this year, Apple said in February that it plans to give unknown AirTags earlier warning and emphasize louder tones on audible alerts. Apple is currently rolling out an AirTags update for the latter in a firmware update dubbed 1.0.301.

During a recent edge Investigation, domestic violence experts said too many false alarms could be dangerous as users may become desensitized to AirTag alerts designed to protect them. However, they also emphasized that there are design challenges that need to be addressed. While experts agree that the current notification window isn’t adequate, shortening it too much can also unnecessarily scare people who aren’t being tracked. That’s because AirTags still need to be able to tell if they’ve been attached to a person or happen to be near that person. It seems that this latest round of phantom alerts proves concerns about false alarms justified.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/6/23060113/airtags-safety-phantom-alerts-apple AirTags are sending out a new type of false positive, the report says

Fry Electronics Team

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