iOS 17.5 Adds Cross-Platform Location Tracking Alerts

Originally published at: iOS 17.5 Adds Cross-Platform Location Tracking Alerts - TidBITS

Apple has released a large set of operating system updates, including iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5, macOS 14.5 Sonoma, watchOS 10.5, tvOS 17.5, HomePod Software 17.5, macOS Ventura 13.6.7, macOS Monterey 12.7.5, iOS 16.7.8, and iPadOS 16.7.8. New features include alerts for Android-paired tracking devices moving with you and a new game and leaderboard for Apple News+ subscribers.

Interestingly, as of 2:30PM PDT on Monday, there was no update to visionOS, which remains at version 1.1.2.

I love how Apple shows a grand total of ZERO information for this macOS update. I must be looking at it wrong.

NB: this was after I hit the “more” info button.

If it weren’t for the (unmentioned) security updates, I’d say at least they’re being honest about the update’s added value.

So the new proposed standard requires compliance not just from Android and iOS but from the tags themselves too. So bad actors will prefer to buy tags that don’t comply, increasing their market share. Better would be to be able to notify users if a tracker is moving with them whether or not that tracker complies.

Yeah, I was confused by that too, but was working really quickly at the end of an already busy Monday. And the online release notes appeared shortly after, showing that it really was just the Apple News+ additions (and security fixes). Meh.

But for tags from other manufacturers to work at all well, they’ll need to tie into Apple’s or Google’s networks, so manufacturers have no incentive not to support the new spec.

Only Apple- or Google-compatible tags present a real privacy/stalking concern because only they have enough devices in the wild to track any random Bluetooth-driven tag.

Any bad actor who really wants to stalk someone will use a GPS-enabled tracker that reports back via the cell network. But I believe those are larger, more expensive, harder to hide, and have shorter battery life.

1 Like

With iPadOS 17.5 you’re no longer able to opt out of Game Center. If you click on Game Center in Settings you’re forced to sign up by a dialogue box it is impossible to get out of. :woman_juggling:t4:

One significant drawback to this tracking alert: I keep an Air Tag hidden in my car to assist with recovery if my car is stolen (it has been vandalized before).

Now, with this new alert, a thief would be alerted to my air tag, could locate & disable it, and prevent tracking down my stolen car.

I understand the reasoning behind this change with regards to scenarios like stalking, however it seriously inhibits its use to track down and recover one’s own stolen property.