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Tile, which makes Bluetooth trackers for finding lost items, added an anti-harassment feature on Thursday that lets users check for unknown Tiles that may be on or near it.
The move comes after competing Apple trackers, AirTags, made headlines for being used to stalk women on multiple occasions. Apple has since added anti-harassment features, but critics say the company hasn’t gone far enough.
Tile’s feature, called Scan and Secure, is available in the latest version of the Tile app. It allows users to search for Tiles or Tile-enabled devices “that can travel with you”, as long as the user has set up Bluetooth, location services, and precise location on their device. Users don’t need to be a Tile owner or part of the Tile network to use the feature, the company said in its announcement. Tile will begin rolling out Scan and Secure this week.
Searching for a tile takes a maximum of 10 uninterrupted minutes. Users will need to walk or drive a certain distance from their “home location” for this to work, and it won’t work if “you circle around a location, like walking inside your house,” a said the company. Tile did not specify how far a user would have to go for the feature to work properly. Results may also be inaccurate if you use the feature on public transport, as a scan could detect other Tiles nearby.
“Scan and Secure is Tile’s first step in giving people more control over their security and we are committed to continuing to advance this feature,” Tile said in a blog post announcing the feature.
Tile competes with AirTag, Apple’s Bluetooth tracker that launched in April last year. Tile has sold over 40 million units. The new feature aims to crack down on the use of devices to track people without their knowledge or consent, which is easily done if the device is planted somewhere on them, such as in a bag or car. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro both issued consumer alerts last month about the dangers of AirTag harassment, with advice on how to properly protect themselves, including listening for unknown beeps and watching for “Item detected near you” notifications.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed Tiles sales volume to AirTags. This story was updated on March 17, 2022.