When Google announced that trackers would be able to tie in to its 3 billion-device Bluetooth tracking network at its Google I/O 2023 conference, it also said that it would make it easier for people to avoid being tracked by trackers they don’t know about, like Apple AirTags.
Now Android users will soon get these “Unknown Tracker Alerts.” Based on the joint specification developed by Google and Apple, and incorporating feedback from tracker-makers like Tile and Chipolo, the alerts currently work only with AirTags, but Google says it will work with tag manufacturers to expand its coverage.
For now, if an AirTag you don’t own “is separated from its owner and determined to be traveling with you,” a notification will tell you this and that “the owner of the tracker can see its location.” Tapping the notification brings up a map tracing back to where it was first seen traveling with you. Google notes that this location data “is always encrypted and never shared with Google.”
Finally, Google offers a manual scan feature if you’re suspicious that your Android phone isn’t catching a tracker or want to see what’s nearby. The alerts are rolling out through a Google Play services update to devices on Android 6.0 and above over the coming weeks.
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