Tile, which makes Bluetooth trackers to find lost items, added an anti-stalking feature Thursday that allows users to check for unknown Tiles that may be on or near them.
The move comes after Apple's competing trackers, AirTags, have made headlines for being used to stalk women in several instances. Apple has since added anti-stalking 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 scan for Tiles or Tile-enabled devices "that may be traveling with you," so long as the user has Bluetooth, Location Services and Precise Location set up on their device. Users don't have to be owners of a Tile or part of Tile's network to use the feature, the company said in its announcement. Tile will begin rolling out Scan and Secure this week.
Scanning for a Tile takes an uninterrupted 10 minutes maximum to run. Users will have to walk or drive a certain distance away from their "original location" for it to work, and it won't work if "you circle around one location, such as walking inside your home," the company said. Tile didn't specify how far away a user will need to go for the feature to work properly. Results also might be inaccurate if you use the feature on public transportation, because a scan could detect other Tiles nearby.
"Scan and Secure is Tile’s first step towards giving people more control over their safety and we are committed to continuing to advance this feature going forward," Tile said in a blog post announcing the feature.
Tile competes with AirTag, Apple's Bluetooth tracker which was released in April of last year. Tile has sold more than 40 million units. The new feature aims to quell the use of the 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 released consumer alerts last month about the dangers of AirTag stalking, with tips on how to properly protect yourself, including listening for unfamiliar beeping and watching for “Item Detected Near You” notifications.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misattributed the sales volume of Tiles to AirTags. This story was updated on March 17, 2022.