AirGuard for iOS and Android - Uni-App anticipates industry standard against tracker stalking

Last week the blog was about, among other things, Apple and Google joining forces with other big names in the industry Industry standard against stalking with Bluetooth trackers insert. Since it starts with "tracker detection“ Apple already has an Android app that can be used to recognize AirTags, so I looked for solutions that could recognize even more Bluetooth trackers. I came across a project at the TU Darmstadt. Some time ago, their Secure Mobile Networking Lab (SEEMOO) released an iOS and Android app that can be used to identify and locate trackers from different manufacturers.

Abbreviation for "AirGuard": Apple App Store / Google Play Store

The AirGuard app detects and reports third-party Bluetooth trackers on iOS and Android. You can install and use what TU Darmstadt has to offer free of charge.
The AirGuard app detects and reports third-party Bluetooth trackers on iOS and Android. You can install and use what TU Darmstadt has to offer free of charge.

AirGuard as a comprehensive and well thought-out app

For protection against Apple AirTag, Samsung SmartTags or Tile I would definitely recommend this app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. After installation, it guides you through the necessary settings (access to Bluetooth and location must be granted) and through the use of the individual functions with the appropriate information. 

For example, while trying it out, I noticed that here in the house not only my own AirTag is located, but also a tracker from the “Tile” brand. But this seems to be further away, so probably in another residential unit. However, you can activate the observation of trackers to see if they stay with you or move away, or if you move away from them.

Various levels of security and false alarm protection

How the app works is already described in the App Store and Play Store. In the background, Bluetooth is used to scan for Apple AirTags as well as Samsung SmartTags and Tile trackers. Found trackers are listed directly; the find does not immediately lead to a warning. The tracker must be detected in at least three different locations to ensure that it is actually being tracked. 

So the Tile tracker I discovered will probably not result in a warning notification as it is a device used by neighbors. Incidentally, three different security levels can be set in the settings of the AirGuard app. I think that's good, because if you suspect stalking, you want to see quick results. However, the risk of false reports increases the higher the security level (since all finds are reported more quickly). Read through each description to find the best tier.

View tracked route, tracker search and more

In addition to the free app download and the description of the software, you will find a few preview images in both the App Store and the Play Store. These show how B. a notification of found trackers looks like on the iPhone, how when selecting individual trackers a map shows the route followed and how to find the corresponding Bluetooth device. Check it out!

Which trackers are currently recognized and reported by the AirGuard app?

The AirGuard app from SEEMOO at the Technical University of Darmstadt can recognize various Bluetooth trackers on the Apple iPhone (as well as on Android devices), report them and help to track them down. Some limitations apply to AirTags and other Find My or Find My trackers on Apple devices. Here is an overview of the options currently available in the app:

Bluetooth tracker detection in the background Automatic tracking alert Manual scanning detection
Samsung Smart Tags Ja Ja Ja
Tile trackers Ja Ja Ja
Chipolo Tracker (without "Where is?") Ja Ja Ja
Apple AirTags No No Ja
Find My Tracker (XNUMXrd party tracker with "Where is?" integration) No No Ja

AirTags and Find-My-Tracker are reported by iOS itself

That Apple AirTags and the for Where is? Trackers made cannot be automatically recognized and reported by the AirGuard app is not a major disadvantage on the iPhone and iPad. Because iOS and iPadOS can recognize foreign trackers of this type themselves if they are separated from their owners and are nearby. So there is also a notification for them independently of AirGuard and the possibility to send them via the Where is? Locate the app (and then disable it). More information in this post.

Participation in a tracker tracking study

Of course you can have different opinions here because of your own attitude towards privacy, but I think it's very good that the App along with the opportunity to participate in a tracker tracking study. Because the use of Bluetooth trackers or other third-party technology is not yet recorded as a single factor in stalking by investigative authorities. And even at the legislative level, only the use of software on the victims' own devices is considered (details about it).

In order to participate in the study and to share the necessary information, you must be at least 18 years of age and confirm this. If you decide to transmit information in favor of the study, but at some point you no longer want to take part, you can easily announce this in the settings. All you have to do is click on a virtual slider to end the data collection.

What do I do if AirGuard detects a tracker?

The offer of the TU Darmstadt not only ensures that you can discover (foreign) Bluetooth trackers that follow you or that you carry with you. Various guides and instructions are also included, which can be accessed directly from the Home tab of the AirGuard app. Here you will find information and contacts on the following topics: 

  • Learn how AirGuard protects you from malicious trackers
  • Get help from trained people in case someone is following you
  • Learn what to do after a notification
  • Find out what this app can and cannot do
  • What trackers AirGuard can find

Free AirGuard app against stalking with AirTag, Samsung SmartTags and Tile

If you have an Apple iPhone, an Apple iPod touch, an Apple iPad, an Android smartphone or an Android tablet, you can install and use the AirGuard app on it free of charge. Apple devices require at least iOS 14 or iPadOS 14. In addition, the app can be used on Mac models from macOS 11 Big Sur Apple silicon (M-Chip) download. Android devices require at least Android 5.0. Click here to download:

It goes to the Secure Mobile Networking Lab (SEEMOO) of the Technical University of Darmstadt with this link – for a brief introduction in German it goes this way.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership would support.

2 comments on “AirGuard for iOS and Android – Uni-App anticipates industry standard against tracker stalking”

    1. Johannes Domke

      Hi Alexander,

      Thank you for the comment and the contact information.

      If we or readers have any questions, we will accept the offer :)

      Best regards
      John

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