Google 'Find My Device' Can Now Locate Your Lost Android Device Even If it is Offline; Here's How It Works

By Kanika Sachdeva - April 10, 2024
Google has launched its all-new Find My Device network for Android phones that can locate smartphones alongside other compatible devices even if they are offline. The network will soon be able to tr....

At last year's developer conference in California, Google announced its plans for a Find My Device (FMD) network on Android that allows users to locate smartphones, tracker tags, and headphones. Fast forward to April 8, a blog post reveals that Google has finally launched its all-new Find My Device network for phones running on Android 9 and above. The biggest talking point of the network is its ability to locate smartphones alongside other compatible devices (tablets) even if they are offline, with earbuds, headphones, and tracking tags joining soon. Interestingly, Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro owners can locate their phones even if the devices are powered off or the battery is dead, thanks to specialised Pixel hardware. 

The crowdsourced FMD network, which uses over a billion Android 9+ devices to locate lost items, started rolling out to Android users in the United States and Canada on April 8 (Monday). The tech company also plans to expand the network globally. Meanwhile, the existing version of the FMD can locate devices through an internet connection or based on where they were last connected with Bluetooth. This helps locate a lost device, but it doesn't help with finding missing accessories. 

However, starting in May 2024, Google says Android users can find phones, as well as everyday items (wallets, keys, luggage) tagged with Bluetooth trackers from Chipolo and Pebblebee. The tags, built specifically for the FMD network, "will be compatible with unknown tracker alerts across Android and iOS to help protect you from unwanted tracking". Additional Bluetooth tags from Eufy, Jio, Motorola, and others will be added later this year.

Google 'Find My Device' Network: How it Works?

The existing Find My Device setting requires your lost device to have an internet connection. Unlike this, the new network leverages Bluetooth to locate devices that are not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Using a feature called Powered Off Finding, the network stores pre-calculated beacons in a device's Bluetooth controller's memory, enabling it to identify compatible devices even when they are not connected. Here are five ways for you to locate your device using the new FMD network:

-  Tracking Android devices by ringing them or viewing their location on a map, even if they are offline

-  Locating everyday items using special Bluetooth tracker tags

-  Using a "Find nearby" button to help you find the exact location of the device or the accessory.

-  Retrieving lost phones by leveraging Google Nest 

-  Sharing an accessory with family or friends, enabling them to keep an eye on it in the application

Google 'Find My Device' Network: Privacy is Priority

Concerning privacy and data protection, Google says the FMD network is secure by default and private by design. The network has multi-layered protections built into it to help keep your personal information private, including end-to-end encryption of location data and aggregated device location reporting. 

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  • Google
  • Find My Device
  • Apple
  • Android
  • Smartphone