Why AirTag is a device against Android users
AirTag is the most atypical thing for the search beacon market. From the beginning, Apple knew that if the tracker could be used to find missing items, it could equally be used to spy on people. In the end, both of these processes are not fundamentally different from each other. Therefore, Cupertino came up with and implemented a special mode that will signal if you suddenly planted an AirTag. The iPhone will simply understand that there is a search tracker within its reach and warn about it. True, the result is still not reliable and safe enough.
The protective measures Apple has taken in developing AirTag to keep users from being tracked against their will looks grossly inadequate. Despite the presence of a tracking alert feature, it is fundamentally different from an alarm that notifies you that you are being followed.
From the moment the beacon is tossed to the sound signal is triggered, it can take from several minutes to several days. For example, the Washington Post correspondent, who decided to test the mechanism on himself, was notified by the tracker only on the third day of the experiment. And even then, after playing the signal for 15 seconds.
Tracking with AirTag
Apparently, the AirTag alarm timer is set to a different delay, depending on whether the real owner’s iPhone connects to the beacon during the surveillance period or not. That is, for those who monitor their family members and periodically connect to the tracker when they come home, the alarm may not work at all.
The result is an extremely effective tool for tracking the movements of your loved ones (and not so much), which a) costs mere pennies by the standards of surveillance gadgets, b) incredibly tenacious (AirTag battery life reaches 2 years), c) works on the broadest infrastructure from iPhone, iPad and Mac, connecting to them and transmitting a signal to the owner.
But that’s not the worst part. After all, if on iOS users the AirTag alarm can at least work, then on Android users it will no longer. The only thing that is available to them is, when they find a hidden beacon, scan it using NFC and establish contact with the owner.
But they will not receive any other information about who planted this tracker on them. Is that the serial number, which, in principle, is not good for anything? So Android users can be the real victims of AirTag without a chance to protect their privacy.
Does AirTag work with Android?
It is clear that Apple could not, against the will of Google, get into Android and add a special interface there that allows you to track AirTag. But it was not necessary to do it precisely against the will of the company. Cupertino could well agree with the search giant on cooperation if they wanted.
Moreover, we are talking about the observance of the right of people to confidentiality and the implementation of legislation on surveillance. Or does Apple respect the privacy of only those people who pay it, and spit on the rest from the high bell tower? So far, it is clear that it is the second option that is relevant for the company.
Let’s be honest with each other: Apple had the opportunity to go to Google and add a little mechanism to Android to detect the presence of an AirTag somewhere nearby. Still, a year ago, the companies managed to agree on the implementation of a tracking system for patients with coronavirus.
Therefore, no fundamental problems would arise in this situation either. After all, Apple did not need to adapt the Locator app for Android. All that was needed was to give users a tool to determine the fact of surveillance, allowing them to protect themselves from the device of its development. That, at least, would be correct.