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What Is Google’s Find My Device Network and How to Opt Out of It

 What Is Google’s Find My Device Network and How to Opt Out of It


Google has helped you find a lost Android phone tied to your Google account for years now, but the search giant is rolling out this spring an improved version of service. With a crowdsourced network of over a billion Android devices, Google said the new version has the ability to locate misplaced keys, wallet or luggage with new Bluetooth trackers, as well as support for Bluetooth tracker tags. 

This spring, Google’s been rolling out the updated Find My Device service and informing device owners via email that their compatible phones, earbuds, headphones and trackers will automatically be added to the network within three days unless they choose to opt out. 

Below, we’ll provide a rundown of the Find My Device network, what it works with and how you can opt-out of it if you so choose. 

For more, check out how to make your Google account safer with passkeys and how to cast videos from your phone to your TV. 

What is the Find My Device network?

image of Google's Find My Device web view image of Google's Find My Device web view

The web view of the Find My Device network lists all of your supported devices tied to your Google account with a map that will show you their locations. 

Blake Stimac / Google

Google’s Find My Device network allows you to locate missing devices and accessories tied to your Google account. This is done by crowdsourcing — where devices on the Find My Device network use Bluetooth to scan for and detect lost items. If an item is found, the service will send you a notification of the item location. The network can also locate some devices, like the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, for several hours even if they’re turned off or if their battery is dead.

Which devices and trackers work with Google’s Find My Network?

In addition to locating a misplaced Android phone and tablet, the Find My Device network allows you to track compatible Bluetooth tracker tags such as from Chipolo and Pebblebee, Wear OS devices including the Pixel Watch and Android-compatible accessories like the Pixel Buds and — soon — headphones from JBL and Sony.

How to find your devices

You have a couple of ways to locate misplaced items with the Find My Device network. 

Before you start to track a missing item, you’ll need to have everything set up, including signing into your Google account, turning on Location on the device, checking that Find My Device is turned on on the device and installing the Find My Device app.

Now, first, you can track a missing device from the web at google.com/android/find

Second, any Android smartphone or tablet you’re logged into with the Find My Device app will also let you locate a misplaced device. 

Third, you can ask Google Assistant to find your devices — although when I tested it, the Assistant would suggest ringing only my two phones, but not my Pixel Watch 2. That said, Google Assistant should also allow you to find your tracker tags if you have them tied to your account. 

What else can it do?

In addition to tracking your devices, Google’s Find My Device network has a couple other features that will be familiar if you’ve used AirTags or Apple’s Find My network. 

Shared items

A useful feature is the ability to add family or friends to shared items that have a tracker tag on it. Whether it’s the TV remote, spare house key or the family iPad, anyone added can find the shared item without giving the person who initially set it up a hassle. 

Unknown tracker alerts

The convenience of the Find My Device network also comes with its own risks. As seen with Apple’s AirTags and the Find My network, there’s potential for people to misuse tracker tags for stalking purposes. 

Like Apple’s network, the Google Find My Device network will notify you of unknown trackers that appear to be following your location. Apple and Google are working together on this, and you can get these alerts where you’re using an Android device or iPhone.

How to opt out of the Find My Device Network

By default, Google opts you into the tracking network.

To protect your privacy, Google said your devices’ locations will be encrypted using the PIN, pattern or password for your Android devices. Locations can be seen only by you and those you share your devices with in Find My Device and won’t be visible to Google or used for other purposes.

If you decide you’d rather not participate, opting out of Google’s Find My Device Network is straightforward. How you opt out of it, however, depends on whether it’s been activated on your account. 

If you’ve recently received the “Your Android devices will soon join the Find My Device network email” stating that the service will be enabled within three days, you can opt out from the web beforehand by following the link provided in the email

If you don’t recall getting the email, or the three-day time frame has passed, don’t worry, you can easily opt out from your Android device within settings. 

From your Android device

Find my device settings for an Android phone Find my device settings for an Android phone

Opting out from the Find My Device network is as simple as tapping a toggle in your phone’s settings.

Blake Stimac / Google

  1. On your Android device, go to Settings.
  2. Tap the Google setting.
  3. Tap the Find My Device setting.
  4. Tap the toggle to off next to  “Use Find My Device.”
  5. Confirm with pin, pattern, or biometrics.

That’s it. Your device is no longer participating in the Find My Device network. To rejoin, just flip the toggle back on. 

For more tips, check out all the fun and useful features in iOS 17.5 and how your iPhone’s Notes app is a secret messaging tool.



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