Apple has to improve the firmware for AirTags: Version 1.0.276, which was announced at the beginning of June and is supposed to improve the stalking protection of the tracker, is now available in a new version. The version number itself remains unchanged. So far, Apple has not given any information about the new features of the firmware revision.
Many AirTags users reported that they had not received the firmware update to 1.0.276 in the past few weeks, but that the new version was now automatically installed on the tags after the release. The new build of the firmware may correct problems when installing the firmware.
The firmware version currently installed on the AirTags can be checked in the “Where is?” App. To do this, tap the battery icon in the AirTag detail view to reveal the information about the firmware version – as well as the serial number. The update cannot be installed manually, it is carried out automatically when the AirTags are close to the associated iPhone.
An earlier warning is intended to make stalking more difficult
The new firmware version is intended to prevent AirTags from being used for secret location monitoring, as Apple had promised at the beginning of the month. If an AirTag is carried by someone else who does not use an iPhone, the tracker should generate a warning tone after eight to 24 hours at the latest – and not after three days, as was originally set.
iPhone owners (iOS 14.5 or higher) are usually notified of an unfamiliar AirTag when they come home or when they reach a frequent location. In order to offer such protection for Android users as well, Apple is also working on a warning app for Android, which will appear later this year.
However, the time window that has been reduced by the new firmware does not defuse all tracking scenarios: If a stalking victim regularly returns to the stalker’s surroundings – for example in situations of domestic abuse – the timer is reset and there may be no warning. The warning tone of the AirTags is also not extremely loud – it was 73 decibels in our AirTag test – and the loudspeaker can be destroyed without affecting the tracking functionality.
AirTags: Family approval is still missing
The firmware does not seem to provide any other new functions. The support of Apple’s family sharing, which many users want, is still missing: While all Apple devices in the family can be tracked by all family members, this is not the case with AirTags. For example, a shared car key can only be located by the AirTag owner. As part of the family release, the partner only has the option of turning off the warning notices of the AirTag, but cannot track down the key using the “Where is?” App.