Apple and Google Unveil Joint Cross-Platform Tool to Identify and Combat Unwanted Bluetooth Tracking Devices

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Title: Enhancing User Privacy: Apple and Google Introduce Location Tracking Detection


In a joint effort to protect user privacy, Apple and Google have collaborated to develop a new feature that detects the use of Bluetooth tracking devices. The feature, called “Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers” (DULT), notifies users when a Bluetooth tracking device is being used to monitor their movements without their consent. This groundbreaking cross-platform solution aims to mitigate the potential risks posed by these devices and ensure the safety and privacy of users. This article explores the introduction of DULT, its implications for user privacy, and the measures taken by Apple to address security vulnerabilities.

Understanding the Need for Location Tracking Detection:

Tracking devices like AirTags have gained popularity in recent years. However, there have been increasing reports of these devices being misused for malicious or criminal purposes. One significant concern is their use as tools by domestic abusers to stalk their victims. In response to these alarming reports, Apple and Google took the initiative to develop a solution that protects users from unwanted tracking.

The DULT Feature in Action:

The DULT feature is now available on Android devices running version 6.0 or later, and iOS devices with iOS 17.5 or above. Android users will receive a “Tracker traveling with you” alert, while iOS users will see an “[Item] Found Moving With You” message if an unidentified Bluetooth tracking device is detected. Users are then given the option to view the tracker’s identifier, play a sound to locate it, and access instructions to disable it.

The Potential Impact on User Privacy:

The introduction of DULT raises concerns regarding user privacy. While it is crucial to address the potential risks associated with tracking devices, it is equally important to strike a balance between user privacy and safety. Apple and Google have taken steps to ensure that manufacturers have the option to build unwanted tracking alert capabilities into their products. This collaborative effort, incorporating input from the community and the industry, emphasizes the commitment to addressing privacy concerns without compromising user safety.

Protecting User Privacy: Insights and Innovations:

To further enhance user privacy, academic researchers have explored cryptographic schemes that provide a trade-off between privacy and stalker detection. For instance, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, San Diego, have proposed a mechanism called multi-dealer secret sharing (MDSS). This cryptographic scheme enables multiple dealers to share multiple secrets, achieving new properties of unlinkability and multi-dealer correctness. Integrating such innovations into tracking devices can contribute to a robust privacy-centric framework.

Apple’s Response to Security Vulnerabilities:

In addition to introducing the DULT feature, Apple has demonstrated its commitment to user privacy by addressing security vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability, known as CVE-2024-23296, allows an attacker to bypass kernel memory protections. Apple promptly released a fix for this vulnerability and backported it to devices running older versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. This proactive response demonstrates Apple’s dedication to providing a secure ecosystem for its users.


The introduction of the DULT feature by Apple and Google represents a significant step towards preserving user privacy and ensuring their safety. By collaboratively addressing the potential risks associated with Bluetooth tracking devices, these tech giants demonstrate their commitment to protecting users’ well-being. The industry-first cross-platform solution, coupled with academic research on cryptographic schemes, offers a comprehensive approach to balancing privacy and safety. Apple’s focus on security vulnerabilities further reinforces its dedication to creating a secure environment for its users. As technology continues to evolve, prioritizing user privacy and safety should remain at the forefront of innovation.

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