Tile has announced that it’s rolling out its new “Scan & Secure” feature in its app this week, allowing anyone with the Tile app to run a scan to see if there are any unwanted Tile tags or trackers near you that shouldn’t be there.
The safety feature (which was announced last fall alongside Tile’s newest tracking tags) has been a long time coming and offers both iOS and Android users the ability to check for unwanted tags. Apple offers a similar app for Android, which lets users scan for similarly malicious AirTag trackers, too.
All trackers — whether they be Tile tag, Apple AirTags, or from another company — carry the potential for abuse by stalkers, and while these devices have been around for years, the recent surge in popularity has put a new spotlight on the issue and the risks tracking tags can pose.
The main issue with Tile’s app (and Apple’s Android app) is that it’s an extremely proactive service. Users have to manually download the app and run a scan instead of getting automatically notified if there’s an unknown tag nearby (as AirTags do — at least in theory — with iOS devices).
In order to conduct a scan, users need to download the Tile app and then move “a certain distance” away from their original location so that the app can see if any Tiles are moving with you that shouldn’t be. Tile’s FAQ notes that the app can take up to ten minutes to conduct a scan and advises against using it on things like public transportation (where it might flag false positives of Tile customers using their own tags as intended).
If the scan does find unwanted tags, Tile’s FAQ makes a point to recommend that users contact resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The Pixel Project, or local law enforcement if they’re concerned about stalkers or safety.
It’s important to note that Tile isn’t using the scan feature as a way to get more customers to sign up for its app and extend its network. While the service will be available to anyone with a Tile account, users will be able to simply download the app and scan for tags without having to sign up first, and their phones won’t become part of Tile’s finding network.
Tile says that the Scan & Secure feature is rolling out now and should be available to anyone who has the Tile app installed (whether they’ve signed up for a Tile account) within a week or two.