Google has released “Unknown Tracker Alerts” for Android smartphones. The new feature is currently limited in hardware support, but Google and Apple are working together to prevent unwanted tracking of smartphone users.
Google announced the Unknown Tracker Alerts feature for Android devices at Google I/O 2023, and within a few weeks, has launched the first stable version. Let’s look at how to use the feature to detect AirTags and other Bluetooth-enabled trackers.
How To Use Google Unknown Tracker Alerts Feature
The Apple AirTag is one of the most common Bluetooth trackers. Although the disc-shaped device is intended to track objects such as keys, luggage, and such, it is increasingly being used to spy on people’s movements.
There have been multiple cases where Apple AirTag has been used for stalking someone or locating a vehicle’s position. To combat this menace, Google announced an Unknown Tracker Alerts feature and a revamped Find My Device network.
While the full-fledged Find My Device network has been delayed, Google has offered the Unknown Tracker Alerts feature for all Android smartphone users.
Available for devices running Android 6 Marshmallow and above, the Unknown Tracker Alerts feature can help prevent stalking incidents by notifying users about any unknown tracker that may be traveling with them or nearby them.
A user will receive a notification on a compatible Android phone when an unknown Bluetooth tracker is separated from its owner and is determined to be traveling with them. Users can tap the alert notification to check more details and to see the location on the map from where the tracker started following them.
The Unknown Tracker Alerts feature also has a “Play Sound” option to locate it without notifying its owner. Users can also bring the tracker closer to their phone’s back and the device will reveal its serial number and information about the owner like the last four digits of the phone number.
Users can also disable the Bluetooth tracker and prevent it from sharing locations with the owner. People who wish to conduct a manual scan can head to Settings> Safety & Emergency> Unknown tracker alerts> Scan now. It will take about 10 seconds for the manual scan to finish and users will be presented with a list of Bluetooth trackers around them, which the feature has determined were separated from their owners.
Will Google Unknown Tracker Alert Work On All Bluetooth-enabled Trackers
The Unknown Tracker Alerts feature currently supports only Apple AirTag. However, Google has assured that it will add more Bluetooth-enabled trackers in the future.
Additionally, some tags might not part with their owner’s information even after bringing them closer to an Android smartphone conducting a scan.
The Unknown Tracker Alerts feature is undoubtedly a critical feature to avoid unwanted tracking, especially for Android smartphone users. While Apple released a similar feature quite some time ago, Google has offered the same now.
Google has delayed the release of the much-awaited, revamped Find My Device network. It will rival Apple’s network that uses millions of Apple iPhones and AirTags to look for lost items.
Google’s Find My Device network will allow users to ring and locate compatible devices on the map even if they are offline. Incidentally, Google and Apple are reportedly working together to create an industry-wide specification that aims to prevent unwanted tracking, commonly referred to as stalking.
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published: Sunday, July 30, 2023, 8:35 [IST]