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Google rolls out 'unknown tracker alerts' for unknown Bluetooth tracking devices: Here's everything you need to know

Android users can also use their Android device to scan for trackers by themselves and get a guide on how to deal with them.

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Jul 28, 2023, 09:38 AM IST

Trackers
Trackers

Story Highlights

  • Google has started to roll out unknown tracker alerts.
  • Android will alert users when an unknown Bluetooth device is near them.
  • Google first revealed the feature at the I/O 2023 event.

Google has started to roll out a new safety feature, unknown tracker alerts, that will alert users when an unknown Bluetooth device is being used to track them. The company first revealed the feature at the I/O 2023 event.

Android users will get an alert automatically if an unknown Bluetooth device is moving along with them. In addition to this, they can also use their Android device to scan for trackers by themselves and get a guide on how to deal with them if they find any tracking devices.

This is a very useful feature as various reports have shown that Bluetooth tracking devices are being misused for stalking and other illegal activities. Apple gradually addressed this issue and introduced new privacy warnings and alerts in its devices, which did not benefit Android users. 

But now, Android devices will alert users if a tracker that doesn’t belong to them is detected to be moving with them. 

What to do if a tracker is found?

Android users can then click on the notification to see a map of where the tracker was detected following them. They will also be able to make the tracker beep, which will help them find the device. And, once the device is located, users can hold it close to the back of their phone to learn more. Some devices will show their serial number or some details about the owner.

Android users will also get advice on how to turn off the Bluetooth device so the owner can’t follow them and get more updates from the tracker.

In addition to this, Android users can also check their surroundings by themselves if they think a Bluetooth tracker might be around. This manual scan can be started by going to Android’s Settings, then “Safety & Emergency” and then tapping on the option “Unknown tracker alerts” and clicking on the “Scan Now” button. The device will take about 10 seconds to finish the manual check and will give tips on what to do next if a tracker is found. 

Moreover, Google and Apple also collaborated in May to create a common standard for how users can be warned about Bluetooth devices tracking them without their consent. The standard is likely to be ready by the year’s end. In the meantime, Google seems to have introduced its own specification to protect Android users.

Google also said at I/O 2023 that it would update its Find My Device network to help users find other lost things, such as headphones, phones and everyday items. However, these updates are delayed because Google is now collaborating with Apple to finish the common unwanted tracker alert standard by the end of the year.

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Author Name | Om Gupta

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