Apple AirTags get major new stalking protection, update your iPhone now

AirTag
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has this week confirmed it has made a significant update to its AirTag tracking device to help prevent stalking by introducing more accurate tools to help you find and locate unwanted AirTags in your vicinity. 

Apple has released two firmware updates for AirTags but always remains hushed on what the contents of those firmware updates are. 

In a new support document, Apple has confirmed that a major anti-stalking feature has been enabled, and everyone can protect themselves by upgrading to iOS 16.2, Apple's latest iPhone software. 

AirTags anti-stalking firmware

Apple says its most recent update (opens in new tab) brings a quick fix to resolve the AirTag's accelerometer not activating in certain scenarios. 

Much more importantly, the previous firmware update supports Precision Finding, Apple's tool that uses the U1 chip inside the AirTag and UWB frequencies to help you find an AirTag. This tool was initially created to help locate your lost and missing items by guiding you to your AirTags using a super-accurate reading and an excellent interface (pictured).

Now, with concerns about stalking and other nefarious activities well-established with AirTags, Apple has retooled this feature so it can also be used to find AirTags that don't belong to you and may have been placed on your person or amongst your possessions without your knowledge or consent. 

Apple's AirTags launched with warnings to state that users may be being followed by an AirTag that didn't belong to them. Still, the feature was not conducive to finding those AirTags, which are small and easily hidden. Harrowing stories of criminal activity have seen AirTags placed in hard-to-reach places, including underneath cars or in glove compartments of vehicles. 

This new tool means that users will not only be alerted to the presence of a rogue AirTag, but they'll also be able to pinpoint its location to find it and get rid of it. 

This feature only works on the iPhone 11 or later, including Apple's new best iPhones, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro. 

You'll also need to be running iOS 16.2, so if you aren't, you should update your software immediately. Your AirTags firmware will update automatically when connected to your iPhone. Still, the Precision Finding update is for everyone, even if you don't have any AirTags, so it's vitally important you upgrade.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9