Apple has just rolled out new software for its AirTag tracker. There are a bunch of privacy improvements under the hood, including the feature where AirTags will play a sound when they get separated from the paired iPhone at any random time, with an interval of eight hours and 24 hours. But while that is good news for AirTags owners, Apple has announced plans to bring the Find My app to Android. And this app will most certainly alert Android users if an AirTag is moving with them.
Android already supports NFC identification of AirTags, but this app will give Android devices power to locate AirTags and alert the user if they are carrying them along. This would mean that, knowingly or otherwise, if a non-iPhone user has an AirTag around them, this app will alert them to protect them from being tracked. Apple does not usually launch apps for Android unless it is a service that is not exactly tied to hardware. Find My is an app that is meant for hardware, so Apple's idea to launch an Android app is sort of a part of its efforts to bring iPhone-level privacy to Android.
A Find My app for Android is welcome, and it is possible that besides AirTags, this app may someday be able to find other Apple devices. Although, that is quite far-fetched right now. Anyway, Apple has given confirmation at least for the AirTags. But there are certain limitations to what Apple is planning to achieve with this Android app. First, the app would not let Android users pair an AirTag; it would only alert them when an already-paired AirTag comes under the phone's radar. There is no way an Android user would want to download this app just to find AirTags of other users.
Apple's Find My app will most likely not support Android devices. And because of that, the functionality of the app on Android is going to be very limited. For something like Covid-19 exposure notifications, the collaboration between Android and iOS devices makes sense, but since Apple's products are in a closed ecosystem, the ability of the Find My app on Android is not really going to help Android users unless, of course, they want to toy around with the app for the sake of it.
AirTags for the Android platform may or may not prove to be useful with the Find My app that Apple is planning. But irrespective of that, Android folks have other options such as Samsung Galaxy SmartTag or Tile that work seamlessly with Android smartphones. For Apple to convince Android users, it will have to make some important changes to its software and hardware policy, especially when it is trying to make AirTags a universal product.
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