Following the announcement at the end of last month, Android is widely popping up “Unknown Tracker Alerts” to detect AirTags that may have been infamously placed on you.
An unknown tracker alert is sent when another person’s tracker is separated from them and found to be traveling with you and out of Bluetooth range of the owner.
To check if this system is on, open your phone’s Settings app and then the “Security & Emergency” section on Android 12 and later – or “Personal Security” on Android 11 and earlier – where there should be a new “Unknown Tracker Alerts” menu .
Released via Google Play Services on Android 6.0+. As of today, we’re seeing it on Pixel (L) and Samsung (R) devices in the US and abroad. Meanwhile, it only detects Apple AirTags, though that could change In the future.
The “Allow Alerts” switch is on by default, with Google warning that turning it off means “your phone won’t automatically search for trackers that travel with you.” In addition, “previously detected trackers will be deleted immediately.”
You’ll still be able to perform a 10-second “manual scan” at any time, though these results aren’t saved. Notably, Google explains how “trackers that appear in manual scans are currently near you, but may not have been traveling with you.”
Trackers on a manual scan may be misplaced or temporarily out of Bluetooth range from the owner’s device.
the Android support page About the feature, it notes how your location data is encrypted on your device and that it “never leaves your device nor is it shared with Google or other users.”
When you receive a “tracker travels with you” notification, tapping it opens a map to see your travel history. You can “play a sound” to help find it, which won’t notify the owner.
Next Steps provides safety instructions on what to do. This includes taking a screenshot of the map “as tracker alerts are deleted after 48 hours”. There are also instructions on how to turn off the tracker by removing the battery.
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