Google explains Unknown tracker alerts feature

In May of this year, Google, in partnership with Apple, proposed regulations to combat the malicious use of Bluetooth location devices for surreptitious tracking. Subsequently, Google initiated the incorporation of features for detecting and alerting against unidentified Bluetooth location devices in its Android 6.0 and later operating systems.

In this initial wave of updates, Google is enabling users to proactively detect unfamiliar Apple AirTags persistently tracking them. Gradually, this detection will expand to include Bluetooth location devices from other brands.

Once this alert feature is activated, Android devices will autonomously send out an alarm when they detect a foreign location device persistently tracking the user. Moreover, they can even prompt the unidentified Bluetooth location device to emit a sound via a connection, thereby enabling swift identification of its precise location.

Additionally, akin to the previously provided functionality, when users bring their Android devices close to an unfamiliar Bluetooth location device, they can access its information through NFC. This includes the location device’s serial number, the last four digits of the owner’s phone number, and guidance on how to evade persistent tracking by unknown Bluetooth location devices.

This feature was announced during the Google I/O 2023 event, alongside the unveiling of the redesigned ‘Find My Device’ functionality. This revamped feature includes support for headphones, tablets, and mobile devices of different brands, thereby facilitating users easily locate their inadvertently misplaced items.