A lot of people are prone to misplacing items within their home or office. Apple has been working on a product expected to launch sometime in the future for a while known as AirTags to track important items. AirTags were expected to launch in 2020, but that launch never happened, and privacy features meant to go with them were later pulled from iOS. This feature has returned in the iOS 14.5 beta.
An iOS beta launched in November 2020 had “Item Safety Features” meant to prevent stalking using the AirTags that failed to launch. This feature wasn’t aimed at preventing the tracking of personally owned AirTags. Instead, it was designed to prevent a stalker from slipping an AirTag tracker onto a person or their belongings to track without their knowledge. If an unknown tracking device were on the person, the beta version of iOS warned them that an unknown accessory was detected via a prompt.
The return of the anti-stocking feature seemingly indicates Apple is gearing up to launch AirTags again. In iOS 14.5 beta, Apple has added a setting for Safety Features meant to detect unauthorized AirTags and possibly other devices. Interestingly, notifications within the operating system also warned the user if they were carrying an AirTag that didn’t belong to them and had been moving with them for a while.
AirTags were designed by Apple and use Bluetooth LE and Ultra-Wideband radio to track their location. Previously, rumors suggested that Apple would offer small and large versions for tracking items of different sizes. Rumors also suggest AirTags might work with the MagSafe system on the current iPhone models to keep the tracking device charged.