Google is working on automatic tracker detection for Android. It’s a feature that allows your phone to detect if there’s an unrecognized smart tracker near your phone for prolonged time.
This is a feature that prevents ill-intentioned people from planting smart trackers such as Apple’s AirTags or Tile’s trackers on unsuspecting folk and using them to follow their location.
The functionality was discovered by 9to5Google after decompiling the Play services APK. The code revealed the line Unfamiliar device alerts, followed by a Unfamiliar Tag Detected Notification with three smart tag options – Tile tag, Finder tag and ATag – two of those are clearly aimed at Apple’s AirTags and Tile’s trackers, we haven’t a clue what Finder refers to.
Once your phone detects an unknown tag nearby, it could be able to ring it and notify you of its existence.
Apple already has this functionality built into iOS, where an AirTag will play a sound if it’s separated from its owner for more than 24 hours. Both Apple and Tile have Android apps that can detect an unauthorized smart tag near your phone – but those require manual scanning and it could take up to 10 minutes.
Having an automatic detection built into Android is clearly the best way. We expect Google to share more about the feature at its I/O conference in May.