Google is reportedly working on a feature called “Find My Device” that will enable users to locate their Android device even when it’s switched off.
In the unfortunate event of misplacing your Android phone and finding it powered off, you may encounter difficulties in locating it. Despite the existence of various techniques for tracking the location of an Android phone, none of them prove useful when the device is switched off. Consequently, you can only rely on the information regarding the last recorded location. The loss of a phone can be a dreadful experience, but in the future, you might enhance your chances of recovering your device.
Losing your phone can be a terrible experience, but next time you find yourself in a similar situation, you might enhance your chances of recovering your device.
Fortunately, there seems to be hope on the horizon as there are indications that this situation may soon change. According to recent code sleuthing conducted by Kuba Wojciechowski (as reported by 91Mobiles), it appears that Google is currently working on a solution to enable its Find My Device hardware location tool to operate even when an Android phone is turned off.
This capability may sound familiar to some, as iPhones have had this feature for several years already, making them a step ahead of Android devices in terms of tracking lost or stolen phones.
The recently released source code for Android 14, which is exclusively available to OEMs registered in the Early Access Program, contains a novel Hardware Abstraction Layer called hardware.google.bluetooth.power_off_finder that could potentially enable the desired functionality.
That means the leaked code suggests that the Bluetooth hardware in the phone would remain operational even when the device is powered off. By utilizing ultrawideband (UWB) technology in conjunction with Google’s servers, this would allow for pinpointing the location of the phone with a high degree of accuracy, even if it is switched off.
Enabling this feature would necessitate hardware support, and it’s not apparent whether the current Android devices available in the market can facilitate this functionality. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to anticipate that future devices, such as the Pixel, will be outfitted with the requisite hardware to enable this feature.
It is conceivable that the upcoming Pixel 8 series could be the first devices to support this functionality, with the feature being gradually introduced to other Android devices over time. At the moment, it is uncertain whether the existing Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series of phones are equipped to handle this technology as it requires hardware support to keep the Bluetooth chip active at all times.
For over a year, there has been ongoing chatter about the next version of Find My Device. In June 2021, initial reports indicated that Google might be in the process of creating a tracking network for Android devices, similar to Apple’s, which would utilize the vast network of over 3 billion Android devices worldwide to precisely locate a lost phone.
It’s worth noting that Google is indeed working on its own version of AirTag, and it’s codenamed “grogu.” Today’s news seems to align with this development, which suggests that Google might prioritize promoting Find My Device and compatible hardware in the upcoming year.
As of now, Google has not announced any official release date or confirmation regarding the debut of this advanced tracking feature. However, with the Google I/O event fast approaching, there’s a possibility that we may receive more information and possibly even an official announcement about the release and availability of this feature.