This Android app is better at finding unknown AirTags than Apple’s

Apple’s Android app is less effective at finding an unwanted AirTag tracker after it is detected than an app created by university researchers.

University researchers have created a Android app that they claim to be better than Apple at finding an unknown AirTag or other Find My compatible tracker. The AirTag is intended to be used to locate one’s lost items. However, the advanced tracking technology Apple’s Tags contain makes them attractive to thieves, who might hide an AirTag in a vehicle or other expensive object as a target to locate and steal under cover of darkness when the owner is away or asleep.

Apple provides an alert to iPhone owners if an unknown AirTag is detected nearby and is traveling with the person, suggesting unwanted tracking may be taking place. Apple also released an Android app with similar functionality. However, Apple’s Tracker Detect app for Android must be opened and manually triggered to locate an AirTag. This means that the user should expect a hidden tracker and remember to use the app for it to be useful.

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Related: AirTag Dimensions: How Big Are They?

AirGuard is an Android app that not only finds any nearby AirTag, but also other Find My compatible devices. AirGuard is also much faster, detecting trackers within half an hour in most cases, while Apple’s solution took up to four hours. Spotted by beeping computer, the application was created by researchers working in the Secure Mobile Networking Lab at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany and is free, without subscription or advertising. Instead, developers ask to participate in their project, which uses anonymous data not linked to the identity or personal information of the user, in accordance with the privacy policy, visible in the application settings.


Find hacked AirTags


Apple AirTag with sound or waves beaming and iPhone 12

It recently emerged that some AirTag owners have modified the devices to prevent them from emitting sound. With an iPhone, an AirTag can be located with a range and heading provided, so sound is not critical for this purpose. However, the Android app cannot use this “Precision Search”. as it requires a phone that supports Apple’s ultra-wideband technology, i.e. an iPhone 11, 12 or 13.

AirGuard, on the other hand, can help find a muted AirTag because it can narrow down the location of the tracker by checking its relative signal strength. A stronger signal usually indicates that it is closer. It’s somewhat similar to the approach used by Tile’s app to estimate the distance to its Bluetooth beacons. With background checks and distance estimates along with a manual scan option and the ability to play audio on a fully functional AirTag, AirGuard seems to be the superior. Android app to find unwanted trackers.


Next: How to change the name of your AirTags

Source: Google Play Store, beeping computer

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