Tile has announced that its new « Scan & Secure » function will be available in its app this week, allowing anyone with the Tile app to do a scan to determine if there are any unwanted Tile tags or trackers around.
The safety feature (which was launched last fall alongside Tile’s newest tracking tags) has been in the works for a long time and allows iOS and Android users to check for unauthorized tags. Apple also has a comparable software for Android that allows users to scan for potentially dangerous AirTag trackers.
All trackers, whether Tile tags, Apple AirTags, or others, have the potential for stalker abuse, and while these devices have been available for years, the recent spike in popularity has put a new attention on the issue and the risks tracking tags can offer.
The biggest problem with Tile’s app (as well as Apple’s Android app) is that it is a very proactive service. Users must explicitly download the software and do a scan rather than being warned immediately if an unknown tag is nearby (like AirTags do — at least in theory — with iOS devices).
To conduct a scan, users must first download the Tile app and then move « a specific distance » away from their initial location so that the program can detect any Tiles that should not be moving with you. According to Tile’s FAQ, the app can take up to 10 minutes to scan and should not be used on public transit (where it might flag false positives of Tile customers using their own tags as intended).
If the scan uncovers undesirable tags, Tile’s FAQ advises users to contact agencies such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The Pixel Project, or local law enforcement if they are concerned about stalkers or their safety.
It’s worth noting that Tile isn’t utilizing the scan feature to attract more people to join up for its app and expand its network. While anyone with a Tile account will be able to use the service, users will be able to simply download the app and scan for tags without having to sign up first, and their phones will not become part of Tile’s locating network.
The Scan & Secure functionality is now being rolled out by Tile and should be available to anyone who has the Tile app loaded (whether or not they’ve joined up for a Tile account) within a week or two.