Mobile

Unknown tracker alerts are rolling out to Android this month


Tile Mate Tracker 8

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Google announced it is rolling out unknown tracker alerts this month.
  • The alerts will notify you if an unknown Bluetooth tracker is traveling with you.
  • Users will be able to get more information on the tracker and actions they can take.
  • Users can manually scan for nearby trackers.

There’s both a good side and a bad side to Bluetooth trackers. While they can make finding items easier, they can also be misused for tracking your whereabouts. But Google is rolling out tools that can help mitigate the dangers Bluetooth trackers pose.

Today, Google announced that it is rolling out a new feature that will help keep you safe from unwanted Bluetooth tracking. Reportedly launching this month, Android users will get access to unknown tracker alerts. This feature will be available for any device with Android 6.0 or above. Google says its unknown tracker alerts offer three ways to protect yourself from unwanted tracking: notifications, actions, and scanning.

When this feature is enabled, you will be alerted (via notification) that an unknown Bluetooth tracker has separated from its owner and is traveling with you. If you tap on the alert, the tech giant says you can learn more about the tracker and view a map of where the tracker was seen traveling with you. On top of that, there will be a “Play sound” option that will cause the tracker to make noise so you can find it without the owner knowing. This tool already works with Apple AirTags, but will expand to other brands eventually.

As for actions, this feature will provide information about the tracker, like its serial number and last four digits of the owner’s phone number, when the tracker is next to the back of your phone. You’ll also receive tips on what to do next and how to physically disable the tracker.

The final use of this feature will allow you to manually scan for nearby trackers. By going into Settings>Safety & emergency>Unknown tracker alerts, you’ll be able to tap on the “Scan Now” button. Google says scanning will take 10 seconds and you’ll be presented with a list of trackers that are near you and have been separated from their owner.

This news comes as Google just announced that it is delaying the launch of the Find My Device network. The decision was reportedly made to give Apple time to implement protections for iOS.