Android’s enhanced Find My Device network is officially here. It’s rolling out starting today, and it uses a crowdsourced network to help Android device owners find their stuff — much like iOS’s Find My network.

With the update, you’ll be able to find your phone even if it’s offline by using help from other Android devices silently relaying your phone’s approximate location. If your lost device is nearby, you can get visual cues in the Find My Device app as you move closer to it. And Google’s Pixel 8 phones get a bonus feature, too: they can be located even if they’re powered off.

Starting in May, the network will also support new Bluetooth tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee so you can use the network to track down your wallet or keys. Compatible tags are also expected from Motorola, Jio, and Eufy later this year. As on iOS, you’ll be able to share access to your tags with multiple users.

Tracking tags are handy, but in the wrong hands, they can be misused. The Find My Device network supports unwanted tracker alerts across Android and iOS, so you’ll get a notification if a tracking tag that isn’t yours is moving with you — even if you’re on an iPhone.

The network also limits the number of times you can get a tracking tag’s location in an added effort to deter stalkers. Dave Kleidermacher, Android’s VP of security and privacy, tells The Verge that this shouldn’t affect how most people use the tags.

Our research found that lost items are typically left behind in stationary spots. For example, you lose your keys at the cafe, and they stay at the table where you had your morning coffee. Meanwhile, a malicious user is often trying to engage in real-time tracking of a person. By applying rate limiting and throttling to reduce how often the location of a device is updated, the network continues to be helpful for finding items, like your lost checked baggage on a trip, while helping mitigate the risk of real-time tracking.
Google is tapping into a wide range of gadgets to help make its network more useful. Headphones from JBL and Sony will also get software updates so they can be located using the network. And if your item is lost at home and you have a Nest hub, you’ll get information about how far away or close it is to the Nest device.

The upgraded Find My Device network supports devices running Android 9 or later. The network is rolling out first to the US and Canada before expanding to Android devices around the world.

The Verge