Apple releases Tracker Detect Android app to allow scanning for AirTags

An Apple AirTag attached to a back pack.
There are safety concerns over how AirTags can covertly track people. Photo credit: Getty Images

Apple has released a new app called Tracker Detect that allows Android users to search for AirTags and other Find My-compatible devices on their phones.

According to its Play Store listing, the app looks for item trackers that have been separated from their owners - whether that's accidental or deliberate.

Safety concerns have been raised over AirTags as they can be used to track people without their knowledge by stalkers or anyone who wishes to do so.

That forced Apple to update how they operated shortly after launch earlier this year.

AirTags make a noise after being separated from their owner, originally set to three days. But a firmware update changed that to a random time between eight and 24 hours in order to be less predictable and deter people from using it to track others.

The Cupertino-based tech giant told CNET the new app "gives Android users the ability to scan for an AirTag or supported Find My enabled item trackers that might be traveling with them without their knowledge".

"We are raising the bar on privacy for our users and the industry, and hope others will follow."

After opening the app, users are able to scan the area around them for any unwanted devices. They will be able to play a noise to help identify exactly where it's at as well as gaining more information about the AirTag, including the serial number.

Instructions are then offered on how to disable the AirTag.

The new app won't allow owners of AirTags attached to an Apple account to track their own AirTags, however. That will still have to be done on an iOS device.

People with neither an iPhone or Android still don't have an easy way of detecting an AirTag being used to covertly track them.

Tracker Detect's launch comes shortly after Canadian police warned car owners that thieves were using AirTags to track high-end vehicles for stealing.

The York Regional Police theft unit said there had been five incidents recently, and are asking owners to inspect their cars regularly for any suspicious tracking devices.

"Brand name 'air tags' are placed in out-of-sight areas of the target vehicles when they are parked in public places like malls or parking lots," the police said.

"Thieves then track the targeted vehicles to the victim’s residence, where they are stolen from the driveway."