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Samsung's SmartTags trackers just got a big upgrade to fight Apple AirTags

best samsung galaxy s21 accessories: samsung galaxy smarttag
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung is going to make sure people can’t stalk you using its Galaxy SmartTags tracker devices by rolling out a new feature designed to scan for any unknown SmartTags in the vicinity.

That way, no one can slip a SmartTag into your bag and keep tabs on where you are and what you appear to be doing throughout the day. It doesn’t matter who the person tracking you might be or what they want — Samsung is going to make sure you can find and ditch the offending SmartTag.

Unfortunately, Samsung’s announcement suggests that this anti-tracking feature has to be manually initiated, which kind of defeats the point. Someone could slip a SmartTag onto you at any point during the day, and it’ll be on you to keep manually checking that they haven’t. That’s assuming you even remember to do it, or realize that you may be tracked.

Meanwhile the iOS 14.5 beta has already revealed that Apple’s anti-stalking system, which detects unknown AirTags that hang around too long, will be completely automatic.

Of course, you could argue that this point is totally moot if you don’t have the SmartTag app or a Samsung phone. But since these devices run on Bluetooth or UWB rather than GPS or cellular data, they need to ping a smartphone or tablet with SmartThings installed to report their location. 

Your would-be stalker could accurately watch you only if the SmartTag was able to use your own device to relay that information.

Samsung also used the announcement to remind everyone that Bixby still exists. Or more specifically, that that awkward stepchild of the virtual-assistant world will be able to communicate with SmartTags. That way, any Bixby users can find their SmartTags by saying something like “Hey Bixby, where are my keys?”

Samsung claims that the SmartThings Find ecosystem is one of the “fastest-growing location services”, but obviously it has some stiff competition coming. It’s long-been rumored that Apple’s AirTags will be unveiled at today’s "Spring Loaded" event. 

Given the sheer number of iPhones in the world, they are certainly enough to give Samsung’s ecosystem a run for its money.

  • More: Apple AirTags: Everything you need to know about Apple's tracking gadgets
Tom Pritchard

Tom covers a little bit of everything at Tom’s Guide, ranging from the latest electric cars all the way down to hot takes on why Christopher Nolan is wrong about everything. Appliances are also muscling their way into his routine, which is a pretty long way from his days as Editor at Gizmodo UK. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.