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Google Could Fix Apple’s AirTag Problem for Android

Apple AirTag on the back of a Google Pixel 6
Justin Duino / Review Geek

Apple’s AirTags and Tile trackers are popular little devices, but Apple made several changes to prevent stalking due to ongoing privacy concerns. Now, it looks like Google could be doing the same with tracker detection built right into Android.

In Apple’s latest iOS 15.4 update, the company addressed several potential issues and privacy problems with AirTags, but that doesn’t do any good for those that use an Android phone. However, the company did release a Tracker Detect Android app that allows users to scan for AirTags nearby. It doesn’t work very well and only finds a device if the user manually starts a scan. Obviously, that’s not ideal.

According to 9to5Google, who dug through code in upcoming updates, there is evidence that Google aims to fix Apple’s AirTag stalking problem on Android. The site found several code references to “Unfamiliar device alerts” and “Unfamiliar Tag Detected Notification” built into Android, meaning users won’t have to download an app to scan for lost or mischievously placed trackers.

Furthermore, digging through the latest Google Play Services apk they spotted mentions that the above notifications will search for “Tile tag” and “ATag” devices. Or, essentially, search for and find nearby Apple AirTags and Tile Bluetooth trackers.

In addition to Android being able to send an alert or notification if it finds an AirTag nearby, another string of code suggests Android users could be able to make the tag ring. This way, it’s easier to find lost or ill-placed tracker tags.

With how easy it is to track someone without them knowing by throwing an AirTag in a purse, backpack, or car, this would be a very welcome change to Android. And since Google’s building this right into Google Play Services, it’d be available for almost all smartphones without needing a bigger software update.

It’s worth stating that this information isn’t confirmed by Google and instead comes from evidence that suggests the feature is on the way. We also don’t know if Google is working with Apple, Samsung, and Tile on the detection service or simply doing it themselves. Either way, we hope this feature arrives soon.

via 9to5Google

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »