@bxm83 right, previous trackers relied on other tracker to create accurate locations, this one uses iPhone to help locate the tracker and lots of people have iPhones. 29$ is expensive but considering it has a replaceable battery and is basically impossible to lose, it’s a good price.
@bxm83 Huh? I don’t understand. If you have the Meh TrackR’s, your phone also acts as a finder so how does that set Apple’s version apart? The TrackR definitely has a Crowd Locate feature and you’ll receive push notifications when it’s found by other people on the TrackR network.
@bxm83 Do you mean to tell me that all iPhone users will be forced to run software to scan the universe for these bluetooth tags without actually installing it themselves?
I keep both my location and bluetooth off unless I’m using it at that moment. Will Apple require all those to be on all the time without allowing you to turn them off? Can users opt out of reporting their locations to the cloud every time a stranger leaves a tracker nearby?
Will Apple pay me a bounty for joining their network even though I never asked to be part of it?
They might push the software to all iPhones (via system update) but you always should have the option to simply keep BT and Location services off. They have enough people who default leave those on to achieve good coverage. Also, you won’t be paid bounty if your phone pings somebody’s lost thing; being an Apple customer is payment enough.
I don’t own an iPhone.
@PocketBrain@krock1 to be clear, I do own an old iPhone 5 but it’s in a drawer to be used as a backup in case something happens to my Samsung Note 9 and the Note 8 backup that I have. So it’s really a backup of my backup.
It’s not fair of Apple to force their users to use their data plan to send location information to Apple’s cloud for a service they probably don’t want to use. I understand many phone manufacturers are probably sending tons of telemetry and tracking data without your knowledge but this is something we know it’s doing so it should be optional.
I do have several TrackR’s that I use (actually bought them from meh then received more in IRKs) and do have the software installed but I still don’t need the bluetooth or location services on unless I lose something at which point I can turn it on and tell the TrackR to start beeping.
I have the choice of running the software in the background so I can locate my phone if it’s lost by pressing the small button on the TrackR but that’s not forced upon me and I can quit the background process easily. I can also turn on or off the crowd location support with TrackR which gives me more control over what my phone is doing.
This is just one more reason I wouldn’t use iPhone as my primary phone because you don’t really own it if you don’t have control over what it’s doing. </end rant>
As is true with all devices on the Find My network—from iPhones to e-bikes—there is no personally-identifiable information shared with anyone at any time. Apple uses end-to-end encryption and unique random identifiers, so it never knows which devices belong to which people. Only your devices know which identifiers are yours. What’s more, Apple only sends location information when it’s requested and only retains it for 24 hours. Unless you have Lost Mode enabled, other users never know which devices they have come across.”
@bxm83 this is the magic sauce and the big hole in TrackR and Tile business plans. For an item that is not lost within your home, you need extra detectors to find it. Say you have one on your bicycle in case it gets stolen. The number of people using TrackR or Tile is probably way less than 1% of smartphone users, and the chances of one of them passing your bike is not very high. But if you get every iphone looking for your stuff automatically, you have pretty much a realtime tracking network throughout the modern world. The thief himself may even be tracking your bike for you.
Because I don’t often lose things like my keys, this was the major reason I never really saw much value in the third party trackers. I wonder why it took Apple so long to do this. I wonder if TrackR or Tile tried to partner with Apple in the past.
@bxm83@djslack Nice try. However, passive and/or active searching for your tag is a new, additional service that isn’t covered in the existing contract.
If you, or through your grants of agency, Trackr or Apple, would like to rent my device, much like they claim in federal court that we phone owner/operators merely “rent” app software and don’t own licenses, I have a non-exclusive, binding arbitration, class acts by injured phone owner/operators allowed, unilaterally reserving for phone owner/operators the rights to revoke for any reason, and the exclusive right to unilaterally change the terms of your service contract at any time, and by continuing to use the services of phone owner/operators, you unconditionally agree to those terms.
You think you have knowledge or control over what info google collects from every android phone? Or how much of your data plan the telemetry uses?
The AirTag is unusual only in that it is an obvious public example of dats collection for the benefit of that company and its interests.
Google’s profitable businesses include the related fields of heavy duty data collection, and world-dominant advertising.
Currently, Google Knows All by gathering data from google apps and android phones more than from desktop methods.
AFAIK, there is no true “mobile phone privacy-oriented OS.
@f00l Perfect straw man argument. Since google collects a lot of information, it’s okay for Apple to force all iPhone users to constantly scan for bluetooth devices and send location data to the cloud using up bytes from my limited data plan.
@Ignorant " Apple uses end-to-end encryption and unique random identifiers"
If that was true, how would Apple know who to send the location to after I detected a lost tag? End-to-end encryption means that the data would be encrypted all the way from my device to the device of the person who lost the tag without anyone in between having any decryption keys. Since my device has no idea who lost the tag, I don’t see any way possible for me to encrypt the data so the person who did lose it could decrypt it and nobody else decrypting it.
Apple must act as the man in the middle and must have a key to decrypt the finder’s information. Then look through its database to determine who owns the tag, then encrypt it again with a known key for the owner and resend the location data to the owner.
About random identifiers, do you really think that Apple doesn’t know which IP address its going to send the data to and what other data it has been collecting from that same IP address? Create all the random numbers you want, but if your phone ever checks for an OS update or you’re logged into iCloud or your phone contacts Apple for any reason, it has your IP address and that will be the same IP address it sends location data to.
@cengland0 I’m not smart enough to even pretend to know how Apple is doing it but they say they are and I have no reason to doubt them. Apple has been very privacy focused the last few years as a way to stand out from their main competition and they also know that the people that are smart enough will definitely look into any of these claims that they make.
Here is what Apple says on their AirTags page
Only you can see where your AirTag is. Your location data and history are never stored on the AirTag itself. Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also stay anonymous, and that location data is encrypted every step of the way. So not even Apple knows the location of your AirTag or the identity of the device that helps find it.
@Ignorant I own an Android device. I’ll take a hard pass on iOS and any questionably alleged “upgrade”.
My point was I am providing an uncompensated service to you, if you want my phone to help you locate your Trackr/AirTag device.
That you use iOS as a third party does not indemnify you for theft of services from other iOS or Trackr -like device users.
Don’t like it? Then don’t lose your shit.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Android and iOS devices can disable access to geolocation data for that app, and/or opt-out of participating. Much like the opt-out features of the “Am I nearby a COVID-19 exposed person’s device?” apps. e.g. you can use them, but you don’t have to send your geo data.
@yakkoTDI To be fair, it is not that bad. The market leader Tile sells the Tile Pro (which is comparable to the AirTag) for $60 for a two pack. If you buy the 4 pack from Apple they come in at $25 each, or $29 for a single one. So are they expensive? Yes. Are they super inflated when compared to other similar items in the market? No.
Yep, Apple producing a “new” thing which is functionally identical to an established product and more expensive.
Being Apple, however, they are likely to do a better job at implementing the technology. The network of iPhones that will automatically run the software will be much wider than the network of people running TrackR software.
Likely, Apple will push their software as a system update and set it to run by default. You will probably have the option to not run the software, but how many people will dig through the menus and disable it?
@Kyeh I heard an interview with Klobuchar recently. Sounds like they’re gunning for tech companies. I’d be massively relieved if legislation started catching up a bit… mixed feelings about Tile’s specific complaints though.
I just ordered my 4 pack from Apple this morning. I have several boxes of TrackR devices that I have used or at least tried to use over the years. Most of the time when I actually need them, the are dead. When I put new batteries in them they die quite fast as well.
I also lost my keys a year or two with a TrackR attached and never found them. What are the odds that another person would walk by my keys who also has a TrackR? I would say super low (cause I never found my keys). But what are the odds someone with an iPhone or Apple Watch walks by? A million times more likely.
If I had a use for one of these kinds of things I’d use Apple’s preferrentially.
The AirTags have that “U1” radio giving you directional information in addition to the beeping.
Bluetooth low energy is very low energy. Nobody is going to notice reduced battery life on their phones. (Not as sure about data, but I’d be surprised if it was more than a megabyte or so in the worst case (like a busy city area).) They run on normal button batteries.
Like others said already, the network of iPhones gives you better odds of actually finding a lost object again.
The price is… acceptable.
Most importantly, they really do bend over backwards to preserve privacy. Apple themselves don’t know where the tags are or the people who encounter them.
They even tried to add an anti-surveillance feature, for the restraining order set. And the serial numbers are associated with your information.
I’m in favor of companies creating this kind of functionality only if they work to stay maximally near trustworthiness. Apple has a history of doing this kind of thing right.