Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2024

Big free Android update will help you find your lost phone anywhere in the world

A big advantage iPhone has had over Android for several years is how good Apple’s Find My app is. It uses all iPhones, iPads and Macs to create a huge global network of devices that can be used to triangulate your Apple gadgets if you misplace them or if they’re stolen. Leave your iPhone on the train, and it’ll ping nearby phones to help you locate where it is when using the Find My app.

Android’s Find My Device app has never been as good – until now. From this week, Google is updating its Find My Device app and service to work just like Apple’s version, crowdsourcing the billions of Android devices in the world to create a much improved network to help you locate your lost items.

This means if you lose your Android phone or tablet, you’ll be able to use Find My Device by logging in with your Google account on a computer or other gadget. You can then view the exact or approximate location of your lost item depending whether it’s online or offline.

An added bonus if you have the Google Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro: these latest Android phones can be located even if they are switched off or if the battery dies. A Google spokesperson told The Verge this is possible as “there’s reserve power on the device for several hours that is channelled to the Bluetooth chip.”

This exciting upgrade is completely free. All you have to do is download the free Find My Device app from the Google Play Store and all your devices will appear listed. The new version of the app with the improved functionality is rolling out now in the US and Canada, so other countries including the UK will have to wait a little longer for the new goodies.

As of May, Google says the app will also be able to log and track Bluetooth trackers made my Chipolo and Pebblebee – but not the popular tag maker Tile. And although Apple’s AirTags are also not compatible, Android devices can alert you if and when there’s an AirTag travelling with you for an extended period of time. This rare Android and iOS crossover compatibility is designed to stop AirTags being used for nefarious purposes such as tracking people without their knowledge.

The Find My Device app will, just like Apple’s Find My, also be able to help you locate the exact spot you left tags or smart devices compatible with the app by playing a sound (if they can emit one) or displaying a screen that says the item is nearby or ‘very close’ as you move around trying to find it.

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