April 21, 2024

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Android Find My Device network settings are turned on for some users

Android Find My Device network settings are turned on for some users

Nearly a year ago at Google I/O, the new “Find My Device” network of trackers for Android was announced, but then postponed indefinitely for the benefit of iPhone users. now, finallythe network is starting to take off – sort of.

Find My Device works on all Android phones with Google Play services to help users find lost items including phones and smartwatches, as well as trackers, headphones and more. Google announced the network for the first time in May 2024 with the aim of rolling it out in the following months, but the company later announced a delay.

The network delay was to wait for Apple to implement protections in iOS for trackers used with Android. Apple has been waiting for an industry standard to be created for this procedure (although no such protection was available for Android when AirTags first came out), and the standard has been ready for use as of December 2023. Just this week, in iOS 17.5 builds, 9to5Mac is found Evidence of the protection that Google has been waiting for.

Now, Google beginning To bring up the Find My Device network for Android.

In the latest Google Play Services beta, v24.12.14, a new “Find your offline devices” option appears in the Settings menu for some users. This leads to another page with options to find devices that are not connected to the network, with the network in “high traffic areas,” and with the network present at all times. Users can also turn off the feature entirely. By default, the option is turned on to “All Regions”.

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We previously reported on these settings in September 2023. The descriptions for each were as follows:

  • Without network: “Your device will not participate in the network. You can still locate your offline devices using their recent locations stored when they were online.
  • With the network in high traffic areas only: “Locate using recent stored or network locations in areas like airports or busy pedestrian walkways. To help find a lost item, location information from your device is only used if others in the network also discover the item.
  • With the network in all fields: “Locate using recent stored or network locations even in low-traffic areas. To help find a lost item, location information from your device can only be used if it is the only device in the network that detected the item.

Subtraction observed By @AssembleDebugand has since been also spotted by many users On telegram. However, its capabilities seem to be limited so far. We don't see it appearing on the Pixel 8 Pro with the latest Play Services update, but results may vary. On your Pixel phone, the setting should appear under Settings > Security & privacy > Device finders > Find my device > Find your offline devices.

If you see the settings live, let us know in the comments below!

This isn't an official full-scale launch, but it's likely the first steps to a full launch. Google will presumably flip the switch completely when iOS 17.5 is available for iPhone which is currently expected to be sometime in May. We've reached out to Google for more information.

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Note: The headline was updated after publication to reflect that the settings page is active, but the network itself is technically not.

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