Earlier this year Google and Apple announced they were teaming up to tackle the problem of AirTag stalking — something Android users have had very little protection from so far. While we still don’t know when this critical feature will arrive on Android, details about how the system might work have popped up online.
Researcher Mishaal Rahman tweeted out screenshots of what looks like Android’s tracker-detection feature, which were obtained from AssembleDebug. In those screenshots we get to see a rundown of the detection feature’s interface, alongside some of the things it should be able to do when it rolls out in the near future.
From the looks of things users will be able to toggle unknown tracker alerts on and off. Turning the feature on means you’ll receive alerts if an unknown tracker is detected following you around, though it isn’t clear how long the system takes to notice that the tracker appears to be following you. The alerts themselves will be available for 48 hours, after which they’re deleted.
Naturally, you’ll need to grant the system access to both Bluetooth and Location. Without them the system is useless.
Once a rogue tracker has been detected, Google’s app offers up a bunch of helpful information to help you figure out what to do next. The first is an option to make the tracker play a sound, and without alerting its owner in the process — meaning you can find and deactivate the darn thing.
The app also features the basic information on what to do, including contacting local law enforcement, recording the trackers’ serial number and advice on how to disable a rogue tracker. Since alerts are deleted after 48 hours, the app also suggests you screenshot everything for posterity.
Manual scanning also appears to be an option, in case you want to be vigilant or need to help track down a lost tracker for a friend. These results aren’t saved, and informs you of any trackers that are nearby. This page notes all trackers in the vicinity, and makes special note of any trackers that you have been alerted to in the past
The location of all these tracker-detection screens isn’t made clear in the screenshots. Based on what we heard at Google I/O back in May, this tracker-detecting software will be part of Google’s revamped Find My Device service. In a similar vein to Apple’s Find My network, this new system will let users track down phones, tablets and other compatible electronic devices like headphones.
Crucially, Google's app will also be able to sniff out rogue Bluetooth trackers, regardless of whether they’re made by Apple or some other company. There are plenty of options out there, after all.
There’s still no word on when the new Find My Device network will launch, or what sort of device rollout we can expect from Google. The fact that screenshots of the tracker detection system are already out there suggests that it may not be too far away. Here’s hoping that the rollout coincides with the launch of Android 14, though ideally it won’t be exclusive to the new OS.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.