Android's Find My Device Network Will Get A Huge Upgrade Soon Here's How It'll Work

Android's Find My Device Network Will Get A Huge Upgrade Soon  Here's How It'll Work

Google's Find My Phone feature has been around for a long time and makes it quick and easy to find Android phones and select other devices. But it's also very limited, as it only works with geolocated and internet-connected devices. Soon Google will change everything.

It does this with the new Find My Device Network, announced at Google IO 2023 in May, which can use Bluetooth trackers to find things on more than a billion Android devices, even if they're offline or don't have location capabilities. , you can now track more devices.

Below you'll find all the details on what this new My Device network is, how it works, how to set it up, and when it's launching. We'll also check if tracking from the search giant Google Earthtag is compatible with this network.

Android Network Find My Device: What is it?

The Google Find My Device network already exists in one form or another. If you've been using Android for a long time, you've probably come across this. But in its current form, it's not exactly "the network," as it doesn't use other Android devices to help you find lost items.

It works with the new Find My Device network, and this update adds support for some Bluetooth trackers (like Tile, Chipolo, and Pebble) and devices like Pixel Buds and Sony headphones. and JBL.

In addition, the Find My Device feature allows you to find ground beacons and other unwanted trackers (in other words, someone might be lurking around to track you). Of course, this feature is already implemented, but the rest is yet to come.

Overall, this will be the biggest update to Find My Device since the service launched in 2017.

Android Network Find My Device: when is it coming out?

Google originally planned to launch the new My Device network in the summer of 2023, but in a Google blog post in late July, the company said it had delayed the move.

This decision was made because Apple wants to wait until the Find My service fully publishes anonymous tracking alerts to itself. Currently, if you have an iOS device, you may be warned about unknown AirTags, but not other Bluetooth trackers.

Apple is updating this feature to work with other trackers, but this update is an update where Google and Apple have worked together to allow notifications to be sent across Android and iOS platforms. The specifics of this cross-platform notification system have yet to be finalized, so Google's "Find my device will keep the network open until Apple implements security measures for iOS."

In theory, the system specifications will be finalized by the end of the year, but it's not clear if that means the Google Find My Device network will be live by the end of the year, or if we can wait a little longer.

Android Network Find My Device: How does it work?

Now, if you lose your Android phone (assuming you have Collect My Device turned on), you can see its last location on a map. When connecting to location services, this location must be updated or it will not be updated.

If it's online, you can play the audio remotely to help find it, or if you think it might have been stolen, you can remotely block it, sign out of your Google account, or turn it off. It's a useful feature, but it requires your device to be connected to the Internet to update your location, and it only works with certain devices, such as Android phones and Wear watches.

The new Find My Device network has none of these limitations. First, it works with Bluetooth trackers, including those from brands like Tile, Chipolo, and Pebblebee. This means that even if what you want to track doesn't work directly with your Find My device (like your wallet or keys), you can connect a Bluetooth tracker and track it that way.

They don't need an internet connection or location services for tracking, as they can find other people's Android devices if they are within Bluetooth proximity. map Given the number of Android devices in the world (more than a billion), this network will be able to find missing items anywhere.

It's a similar idea with Apple's Find network, and Google says that, like Apple's network, its location data is encrypted, meaning that no one, not even Google, can tell where items are displayed.

The other part of this big My Device update, which is already here, will let you know about unknown trackers that can be used to track you. We'll show you how to set this up below, but once it's up and running, your Android phone will immediately send you a notification if you find an unknown tracker traveling with you.

You can also do a manual scan and it will scan Bluetooth for unknown trackers you've traveled with and find unknown trackers (such as AirTag or license plate trackers). And the last point: how to determine if a Bluetooth tracker is following you from something nearby (for example, when you are with other people).

If an unknown tracker is found, you'll see a full map showing where the tracker was first found and which track it's following. You'll be able to play a sound for quick access and shutdown instructions.

However, this feature can only detect Airtags initially (although this has changed), and in our experience Google's Anonymous Tracking does not always identify Airtags quickly or correctly. There may be some errors that need to be corrected.

Android Network Find My Device: How to set it up?

The Google Find My Device network isn't there yet, so we don't know how setting it up will work, but leaks have given us a good idea.

Mostly Mishal Rahman (Android whistleblower and journalist) posted a detailed article on X (formerly Twitter) about the installation process.

Of course, you'll first get a notification on your phone asking if you want to add "This Device to the Find My Device Network". So it looks like you'll have to select a network, as it is now.

If you answer yes, an introductory screen will appear explaining what the Find My Device network does and asking what level of involvement you'd like to have on your phone. The options (besides disabling this feature) are "No Network", which essentially allows Find My Device to work for you as usual without affecting the wider network of Android devices.

Or you can select "with network in high traffic areas" which is the default. As the name suggests, this Find My Device lets you use the network to locate your device in crowded places like airports.

You can also select Network Anywhere, which makes Find My Device use the network to find your device anywhere, even in low-traffic areas. You can see a preview of these options shared by @Nail_Sadykov in the images below.

As of writing, the chosen option refers to using the network to find lost items and connecting your phone to the network to find other people's devices. For example, if you select "No Network", your phone will not be registered to the network to help other people find your device, and you will not be able to use the network to find your device.

But as mentioned above, the location of your devices is encrypted, so only you (or those you share on Find Your Device) can see their location via your Android device's PIN, pattern, or password. The first time you register a device, you'll be asked to enter the PIN, pattern, or password of another device you have on the network so Google can verify that it's you, or if it's your device's registration, it might already be. be one . To enter this device's PIN, pattern, or password. Although all this can change even before the network goes live.

As for this major update to the unknown Find My Device tracking feature, it is now available and should be enabled by default. But to check or disable it, go to your phone's Settings > Security & emergency (or Settings > Personal security if your phone has Android 11 or later), scroll down and then tap "unknown".

You will then see the "Allow Alerts" button, which should automatically turn on. You can turn it off if you want, but we recommend leaving it on for most people because it helps prevent stalking attempts. From this screen, you can manually scan all remotes in the area.

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Android Network Find My Device: Is Google Creating Trackers Like AirTag?

It would make sense for Google to launch its own Bluetooth tracker by launching the Find My Device network, which works with Bluetooth trackers - something that rivals Apple's AirTag, and reports show it's in the works.

According to Lekker Kamila Wojciechowska, these Google Air beacons may be codenamed "Grogu". It appears to have been developed by the Nest team and supports UWB (Ultra-Wide Band) and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to track their location.

The Google Air Tag-like tracker will also have speakers (so it will activate alarms to help you find it) and come in different colors. This is all coming from the same source, so we'll take it with a grain of salt, but it's a compelling statement.

It's unclear when Bluetooth scanning will begin, but we're guessing Google Find My will arrive soon after the device moves to the new network.

Meanwhile, support for third-party trackers is planned, including those from Tile, Chipolo and Pebblebee, so there's no need to wait for Google to release its own version.

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