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Apple is reportedly working on its own Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device which can be attached to items like purses or keys. Based on the number of reports and rumors, the tracking system seems pretty likely.
Until recently, the device’s features and form factor was unclear. And today, an internal build of iOS 13 seen by MacRumors has revealed a slew of details about the device.
First off, the design. The tracking tag appears to be a small circular item with an Apple logo in the middle, according to an image of the accessory found within the iOS 13 build. Of course, that image could be a placeholder or rough mockup.
Still, one of the first reports of the Tile-like device by 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo back in June depicted a similar design. Taken together, the reports could, at the very least, corroborate the circular tag design.
MacRumors also notes that the tag device is internally codenamed B389. There are also plenty of strings within the iOS 13 build that pretty clearly confirm what the product is meant for — one string reads “tag your everyday items with B389 and never lose them again.”
The tag device is meant to work with Apple’s revamped Find My app. And, in fact, the internal iOS 13 build introduces a new “Items” tab in the app, alongside People and Devices.
But aside from the ability to locate your items in the Find My app, it appears that the Apple tracking devices will be feature-packed. Here’s a list of the rumored features, based on code strings found within the internal build.
- The tag will be able to notify users when it goes out-of-range from their iPhone or Apple Watch.
- Users will be able to activate a “chime” or “ringing” sound on their trackers so they can find them more easily.
- There will also be “Safe Locations,” which you can set manually. If a user leaves their tag at one of these locations, it won’t send them a notification.
- Tag users will be able to send the location of their items to other iOS users, like friends and family members.
- When in “Lost Mode,” the tags could relay the owner’s contact information to iPhone users who come across the lost item.There are also indications that the battery will be removable. That suggests that it may run on small, circular button-cell batteries (which will be user-replaceable) rather than rechargeable ones.
- The tag will warn users and send a final last location before its battery dies.
- Users will be able to locate lost tags using augmented reality. One of the code strings suggests that Find My may overlay a virtual balloon over the lost item so its location can be pinpointed with an iPhone’s viewfinder.
That is, of course, a ton of information about the upcoming Apple tracking devices. But MacRumors notes that the internal build is from June, which suggests that Apple may have refined the platform.
Past Reports & Release
Rumors of an Apple tracking device stretch back to April, when internal sources told Guilherme Rambo that the project was under development and would be integrated into Apple’s Find My app.
Since then, other rumors have corroborated that report — including one from just this week that connected the Tile-like trackers to “range leashing” and AR capabilities.
As far as when the device will be released, that’s not clear. But since Apple’s iPhone event is just around the corner, it’s worth venturing that the Apple tracking device could make an appearance at the keynote.